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WEATHER:  a cloudy start, some sunshine later

Our last day had arrived and we were determined to finish the trip with a bang! Our early morning session saw us standing on the west bank of the River Tsiknias looking for the elusive Spotted Crake. It remained elusive throughout our 1 hour vigil and apparently for the rest of the day, it has probably moved on. We enjoyed great views of Black-headed Bunting, Reed, Sedge and Olivaceous Warblers, A Black Stork and a marsh harrier flew over. It was just lovely being out there. We returne to Skala Kalloin via Papiana where the roost of Long-eared Owls could be found. We saw one of the adults sitting at eye-level in an olive tree.

When we returned to the hotel we heard of a Black-tailed Godwit being sighted just around the corner on the Christou Marsh, so after breakfast we dashed around to see it. It turned out to be a Bar-tailed Godwit in full summer plumage. Also out there we saw Little Stints, Curlew Sandpiper, Greater Flamingos, Black-winged Stilts and lots of Avocets.

After packing our luggage into the minibus we set for the airport, it was just after 9am, we had plenty of time for birding before the afternoon flight. We made our way to Loutra, where in the town centre, a pair of laughing Doves had settled, this new breeding species for Greece had recently colonised the island and is spreading rapidly. We found two birds, one on its nest and the other nearby, they seem perfectly settled with the local Collared Doves all around them.

the group 'twitching' a Laughing Dove in the centre of Loutra

We then drove to Chamida, a costal village where on the slopes of the hills behind the village, a vast heathland grows. We searched the bushes ad shrubs for the Ruppell’s Warbler, this delightful little scrub warbler has now become quite hard to find elsewhere on the island and had recently disappeared from its regular breeding site on the north coast at Petra.

After walking up hill for a while we eventually heard the Ruppell’s singing, we got it in scope and had distant views of it. The bird then flew nearer and nearer and finally sat right next to us in a roadside bush. Everyone had good clear views of it, what a star! Other species seen included: Orphean Warbler, Goldfinch and we heard a Sardinian Warbler but it did not show.

Ruppell's Warbler

We drove down to the beach at Chamida and searched a small marsh area, seeing only Barn and Red-rumped swallows and an Olivaceous Warbler.

For lunch we ate a beach-side restaurant, it was lovely to spend our last mealtime together in such a magical place. The waves splashing against the beach, bright sunshine and a cooling breeze.  There was a lovely ambience in the restaurant, it was full of Greek families enjoying Sunday lunch together, I think the charm and the good feeling was instilled in all of us too!

at lunch by the seaside - taken by Jane.

It was sad to see my small group disappear into the airport departure building, they had been really great company and a pleasure to be with……..but, enough of that silly sentimental stuff, I have bigger fish to fry, a new group is arriving in 90 minutes time and I need a quick nap!