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WEATHER: nothing but blue sky, fantastic light and no wind.

Our early morning jaunt found us on the western track of the salt pans at 6:35am. it was a perfect morning for birding and the light was incredible. We stopped to watch a large mixed flock of Terns, Little, Common and White-winged Terns fed in the feeder channel beside the pans. At the corner where the pumping station is located we saw 12 Black Storks, a Grey Heron and lots of Black-winged Stilts.

We drove directly t the race-track at the back of the salt-mountain where we hope to see a Rufous-tailed Bush Robin. We parked on the east end of the track and quickly located the target bird, it was singing from a bush in the centre of the field. Smashing, a lifer for some of the group too! We got closer, because the bird was slightly obscured by leaves, and took our photographs of it. As we were watching the Robin three Dalmatian Pelicans flew over!!Wowza!! It was turning out to be a fantastic pre-breakfast outing.

It's a bit obscured but this is a Rufous Bush Robin taken today at the Race track

Back along the track to the salt pans we stopped to look at the Alykes marsh, a small of pool of water held several waders including the uncommon Black-tailed Godwit in full summer plumage. Next to the Godwit a Marsh Sandpiper was feeding alongside Ruff and Wood Sandpipers. Several Yellow Wagtails dashed about the reeds and we saw two White Wagtails with them.

Alykes Wetland - you can just see the Marsh Sandpiper in the nearest pool

Marsh Sandpiper with a Black-tailed Godwit taken at Alykes Wetland

Before we went to breakfast we made a quick visit to the river Tsiknias to look for the Spotted Crake which had eluded my group last week. After about 10 minutes of waiting the crake appeared, Vanessa saw it first and we were all soon watching, albeit for a very short period of time.

Dancho's picture of the Spotted Crake

After breakfast we set off for Eresos, taking the very scenic coastal road through Parokila, Mesotopos and Agra. We stopped just outside of Agra to look for Chukar and other mountain species. We spent an exciting 30 minutes scanning the hillside and the huge cliff face in front of us. Our birding list was impressive culminating in a sighting of a LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE. It was Doug who spotted it and Dancho, named and photographed it before many of us had got it in the bins!!

Lesser Spotted Eagle

The Lesser Spotted Eagle came over this ridge near Agra

Other species seen at this stop were: Subalpine Warbler, Cretzscmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Red-backed Shrike, Black-eared Wheatear, Orphean Warbler, Raven, Long-legged Buzzard and Alpine Swift.

We finally got to the coastal track at Eresos around 10:30am, the birdlife was prolific with many birds flitting about, mainly shrikes and buntings but nothing new for the list. Our first stop was dominated by butterfly watching, one particular plant was attracting dozens of Meadow Brows, with Small Coppers and Marbled Whites, it was amazing to see. The bird list there included: our first Common Cuckoo, a family party of Rock Nuthatches and several buntings.

dozens of meadow brown Butterflies on one plant!

Rock Sparrow taken by Dancho

Approaching Meladia Ford we walked along the track after watching Rock Sparrows visiting their nest which was an abandoned Rock Nuthatch nest. We saw many shrikes, buntings, a few warblers and a Little Owl. No Golden Orioles were noted as we approached the ford. We watched an Orphean Warbler singing from the top of a bus and in the stream we saw Temminck’s Stint, Little Ringed Plover, a Little Bittern, Squacco Heron and a Little Egret.

Pied Flycatcher at Meladia Ford

Flycatchers were seen dashing out from the Oleander bushes, we saw Pied and Spotted, also Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Black-headed Buntings. During this hour-long session and the walk to the ford we noted several birds flying over the valley. A Male Montagu’s Harrier was a terrific sighting, we also saw Short-toed Eagle, Red-footed Falcon and Long-legged Buzzard.

Orphean Warbler taken at the Ford

Another walk to the Meladia chapel produced both Common and Lesser Whitethroats and at the chapel we saw Spotted and Pied Flycatchers. The drive to Sigri produced a few more birds for the list. A Roller was nice and Crag Martins were a new addition.

We stopped for coffee and ice-cream In Sigri before making our way to Faneromeni Fields and Upper Ford. We searched for Collared Flycatcher and found a possible Semi-collared Flycatcher, lots of Pied and Spotted Flycatchers as well as dozens of shrikes, mostly Red-backed Shrikes.

a possible Semi-collared Flycatcher - taken by Dancho

At the ford we finally caught up with Collared Flycatcher, we only found a female but she was good enough, not many other birds were seen. A Levant Sparrowhawk flew over and usual Bee-eater flocks, Hoopoe, Yellow Wagtails and hirundines were ever=present.

female Collared Flycatcher taken at Farenomeni Upper Ford

We set off for Skala Kalloni around 5pm but we made a stop in Andissa to look for Scops Owl. It was a beautiful little town square where three gigantic London Planes grew, the owls had taken residence in these trees. The owls were in there because we heard them calling to one another. Eventually, one flew from one tree to the next and we bagged it!!

Scops Owl taken by Dancho in the square at Andissa

Citrine Wagtail taken at Kalloni  Pool this evening

We got back to the hotel around 6:45 and once again there was a bit of excitement and a crowd of birders outside the hotel looking into the marsh. We thought it might be the Great Snipe causing the excitement, but it was a Citrine Wagtail, a female and we all got to see it! It was another great finish to yet another superb birding day on Lesvos.