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WEATHER; cloudy with heavy rain showers, some sunshine to start with. Temp 10 – 19C

Our final day had arrived and we had a few target birds still to find for our final list, the weather forecast dictated our movements somewhat, we still got wet despite careful planning!

In search of a Collared Pratincole,  we visited both the Christou Marsh and Lotzaria Track before breakfast. We knew that none of these birds had been reported for a few days but we thought that maybe we could find some. The Marsh just around the corner from the hotel was pretty much empty of birds, just a few Little Stints, Kentish Plover, single Ruff, a couple of pairs of Avocets and distant Greater Flamingos with a few Common Shelduck mooching about in the scrub.

there are still plenty of Black Storks around

The track at Lotzaria was the same, devoid of most species, the water in the seasonal pool had now dried up. All the yellow Wagtails, Red-throated Pipits, Whinchats and Shrikes had moved on. We were left with Corn Buntings and Crested Larks. A Marsh Harrier flew over as did a couple of Black Storks and along the track the usual Olivaceous Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler could be heard.

After breakfast we could see a mass of dark clouds approaching from the north west so we headed to south east into bright sunshine. it took about 40 minutes to reach Loutra, a small village on the edge of the Gulf of Gera Peninsular. In the town we went see the island’s most famous bird, the Laughing Dove. The locals must think we are all crazy, group and after group of birders stroll up the hill in the centre of the village to look at a dove sitting on a nest. We saw two other male birds, they were both issuing their ‘laughing’ call.

Laughing Dove taken by Dancho in Loutra

Driving around to Charmidia we parked the buses on a slope which had heathland-type scrub on both sides of the road,. It was a little windy but the sun was still shining. It took a while before our target bird, the Ruppell’s Warbler came out to greet us. It performed very well but could not perch on the tops of the small pines because it was too windy. This beautiful little scrub warbler performed its song flight a couple times before disappearing. We also saw Sardinian Warbler, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and some Goldfinches. Just before we left, Dancho called out an Eleonora’s Falcon which drifted slowing over the top of us, wowza!!

the Ruppell's Warbler was a must-see species for most of the group

By the time we reached the mountain village of Agiasos it was cloudy and very windy, a quick look along a a mountain river produced sighting of Grey Wagtail and a Spotted Flycatcher, we also heard Goldcrest and a Wren but didn’t see either.

On the track above Agiasos the sky opened up and it poured down with rain, heavy, very wet showers. We ate our picnic lunch sitting in the buses as they were pounded by rainfall. The wind was pretty strong too. Despite all of this the group forced me out of the bus onto a track to search for Orchids!! I found three species and the Aegean Wild Tulip. The rain eased off and everyone got out to join their wet leader to see the orchids. We saw Provence, Green-winged and the Holmboei Butterfly Orchid. The latter was totally green a very strange looking plant.

looking at orchids in the rain

the all-green Holmboei Butterfly Orchid, I've never seen a green orchid before

the flowers of the Holmboei Butterfly Orchid

After taking a coffee in the beautiful town of Agiasos we drove back down the mountains to sea-level and more sunshine. We stopped at Kalami Marsh and spent an hour watching birds of the marsh and raptors above us. We had great Views of Black Stork, Purple Heron, the local celebrities, Pygmy Cormorants!

record shot of a Pygmy Cormorant

Distant shrikes sat on the bushes with Whinchats, Reed and Great Reed Warblers sang from the marsh. Long-legged buzzards and Marsh Harriers entertained us at eye-level whilst Short-toed Eagles and Red-footed Falcons drifted over us.

Marsh Harrier taken at Kalami Marsh

We heard through the grapevine that some Red-footed Falcons were sitting on wires at the Salt Pans so we made that our last port of call for the day. Three Red-foots were feeding over the Alykes Wetland behind the salt pans, we watched them for quite a while, two them eventually settled on the wires.

Black Stork and a Purple Heron. two iconic species of Lesvos

Well that was it, the birding was over, we had seen 166 species and heard a few more. Dinner and the bird-log afterwards was a jovial affair, lots of good natured legs pulling. The trip was all over bar getting to the airport on time tomorrow morning.

We heard that three mega sandpiper waders had turned up during the day: Terek Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper and an American species, Pectoral Sandpiper, doh!! You can’t see everything and you can’t be in the right place all the time!