METOCHI LAKE - ALYKES WETLANDS AND HORSE PADDOCK – ACHLADERI PINE WOODS – ALIKOUDI POOL – METOCHI LAKE
WEATHER: some cloud but mainly sunny, still a cold wind blowing from the north. Max temp 24C
It was a much more subdued today, no dashing about, some really relaxing gentle birding. We had a few target birds to look for but mainly we took what came and enjoyed our birding immensely.
There was a bit of a mix up with the timing for our pre-breakfast excursion, Richard and myself thought it was 6am and Guy and Mervyn thought it was 6:30am. So just the two of us made to Metochi Lake just after 6. Having been dredged, hung drawn and quartered the pool and its surrounding habitat is returning to its former glory after 3 years.
It was wonderful at Metochi, terrific bird song from all directions, superb light and a mist rising from the surface of the water added a mystical atmosphere.
Little Bittern - take in poor light this morning
Barn Swallows, roosting in the reeds
We saw lots of species, the best of which was two Little Crake, two Little Bitterns, Squacco Heron, at least 4 Great Reed Warblers and plenty of supporting cast.
In the meantime Guy and Merv had walked around to the marshes at the Christou River where they saw a good number of species which included: Stone Curlew, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover, Greenshanks, Black Stork and many more.
At 8:30am we all set off together and headed for the Alykes Wetlands which lie between the shoreline of Kalloni Bay and the Salt Pans. We saw over forty species during our time there, I shan’t list them all here, but some deserve a mention: Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-throated Pipit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Red-footed Falcon, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Eurasian Spoonbill, White-winged Tern, Whinchat, Black-necked Grebe and Eurasian Curlew.
a Whinchat with a beer belly?
We drove into town and bought lunch supplies and then we made our way to the pine woods at Achladeri where we parked the bus and ate our food. During lunch we saw Masked Shrike, Serin, Chaffinch and a Black-eared Wheatear.
record shot of the Masked Shrike, a female
Our prime target was the kruper’s Nuthatch, I knew where the nest site was and so we made our way deeper into the wood and staked out a tree with a hole in it! We spent two hours there, taking other paths and keeping a vigil on the nest hole, but we never saw the Nuthatch! We watched Short-toed Treecreepers visiting a nest, we saw Cirl Bunting and Spotted Flycatcher and flyover Booted Eagle and Black Storks.
We made a vow to return to the Kruper’s nest site another day and set off to visit Alikoudi Pool. We got way-laid along the way by a group of birders who were watching Olive-tree Warblers in an olive grove, where else would they be? We got many flight-only sightings of the bird as it moved from song-post to song-post, Guy and Merv saw it perched briefly.
At Alikoudi we enjoyed some great wader watching, I think it was 8 species seen there: Little Stint, Kentish Plover, Ruff, Wood, Common and Curlew Sandpipers, Avocet and Black-winged Stilt. We never saw the Temminck’s Stints which were supposed to be there.
the display of wild flowers is incredible on Lesvos this year
Our last destination was a return to Metochi Lake where a Baillon’s Crake had been reported during the day. We spent 30 minutes scanning the reedbeds with a bunch of other birders but did not find it. We did see the other two species of crake, Little and Spotted. We left it there and return to the hotel at 6pm.
male Little Crake
female Little Crake with a Swallow flying over it
The bird log revealed we had seen 84 species today and our two-day total was 106, hopefully more goodies to find tomorrow.