ALYKES WETLANDS – KALLONI SALT PANS – PETRA ROAD RAPTOR-WATCH – PETRA RESERVOIR – EFTALOU TO SKALA SYKAMINEAS – KALLONI SALT PANS - KALLONI OLD RESERVOIR
WEATHER: cloudy all day, some rain late afternoon, top temperature 14 degrees C.
It had been raining overnight, but not much, it was still quite cloudy and much cooler than yesterday. We met as usual at 6am and drove to the Alykes Wetlands where a Great Snipe had been seen last night. The bird wasn’t there of course, but we had wonderful views of both Black and White Storks with a Grey Heron and some Little Egrets. We scanned the pools from where the Snipe had shown last night, but all we found was a couple of Wood Sandpipers.
Black Stork seen on Alykes Wetland this morning
Before returning for breakfast we had a quick look into the Horse Paddock for a Tawny Pipit and then we drove around the ‘race track’ looking for one, without success. The pools in the Horse Paddock still held plenty of waders but the Snipe had not joined them, we saw Little Stint, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper and Common Shelduck.
Red-throated Pipits in the Horse paddock at Alykes Wetlands
After breakfast we headed eastward to the ‘top’ of the island to visit Petra and Molivos. Just outside of the town of Kalloni we stopped to take another look at the Scop’s Owl, we were hoping that it was showing better, but alas it was still tucked in behind the foliage of the eucalyptus tree.
can you see a Scop's Owl in there?
For an hour or so we stood at the Kalloni Raptor watch-point with scopes pointing towards the sky. It was quite interesting with some movement. Ravens seemed to appear every few minutes we counted up to fifteen, Common Buzzards were the most common bird of prey. We did see several Short-toed Eagles, a couple of Honey Buzzards, a Hobby and a few Black Storks. High up we saw many swifts including Alpine Swifts and in the scrub behind us (which had obviously been burnt) we saw Cirl Bunting, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Subalpine Warbler and Woodchat Shrike.
the view from Kavaki on the cliffs above Petra
Just before we dropped down into Petra and the coast we stopped at a small track where in the past I had seen Middle Spotted Woodpecker, within minutes we found a pair visiting a hole in an olive tree. Passing through Petra we stopped on top of the cliffs to scan the sea for Audouin’s Gulls and European Shags, we saw only the latter.
We ate our lunch by the side of the Perasma Reservoir, in recent days other birders had seen Great Spotted Cuckoo there, so we gave it a try. It was now quite warm and the middle of the day so not much bird activity was noted. The reservoir held hundreds of Yellow-legged Gulls, a few Ruddy Shelducks and a Wood Sandpiper but not an Audouin’s Gull.
We scanned the scrub area for the cuckoo without luck, we then bumped into Helen and Jeff who were at the bird of prey watch-point earlier. They told us of the sighting of a Terek Sandpiper back at the Kalloni Salt Pans which they had seen!! I hadn’t checked my phone for messages, the Terek had been called at 10:15 whilst we were watching Honey Buzzards! Doh!
We continued our Journey through Molivos and onto the rough track at Eftalou where we stopped for some more sea-watching. We found European Shag and lots of Yelkouan Shearwaters but not the Gull we were after.
At Skala Sykamineas we stopped to admire this beautiful little fishing village with its quaint little harbour, it is a well known spot for seeing Audouin’s Gull, Jeff and Helen were eating lunch there. We scanned the sea once again, and once again, we dipped the ‘gull’. (later, after we had gone, Jeff found one circling over the harbour!!!)
the beautiful village of Skala Sykamineas
my birding crew for the week - Guy, Merv and Richard
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the salt pans hoping for the Terek Sandpiper to reappear, many birders were searching for it. We did add a gull to our list when, from the east side of the pans, we scoped a pair of first summer Slender-billed Gulls. We enjoyed some good birding there despite missing the Terek. 3 White-winged Terns with 2 Whiskered Terns was nice to see as well as all the waders, flamingos and we also saw two Eurasian Spoonbills and four Black Storks.
Flamingo's on the salt pans wit Avocets
Our final birding at 6pm was a visit to the ‘Old Kalloni Reservoir’ a small lake with dense cover around most of it. Night Herons favour this place to roost and one had been seen today along with a Purple Heron. We found the Purple Heron but not the Night Heron. Also in view was 3 Little Bitterns, Little Grebe, Moorhen and Coot.
We were back back at the hotel just before 7pm, with just enough time to shower before dinner.