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WEATHER: mostly sunny until late afternoon, then rain showers, some heavy. Temp 20C

This was our last day together as a group, Merv and Richard were leaving for home today, but we all met up at 6am for our early morning excursion. We drove the short distance to the Old Kalloni Reservoir where we hope to finally catch up with Night Heron! Ha, ha, that was a joke, we never saw one, however we enjoyed seeing Little Bittern and all the common water fowl. We then drove to Alykes Wetlands to see if a final visit would produce the Tawny Pipit which had successfully avoid our binoculars. Well, the Pipit continued with its successful hide and seek game and did not appear for us.

Looking westward from the east track over the 'channel' to the salt pans

Red-throated Pipits performed admirably we watched them for quite a while, Short-toed Larks put in an appearance too. Scanning the pools in the Horse Paddock produced sightings of all the usual waders such as Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Ringed & Little Ringed Plovers, Kentish Plover and a couple of Ruff.

our only new bird of the morning - Cattle Egret, one of six seen at Kalloni Salt Pans

We said goodbye to Mervyn, he was taking a coach back to the airport and the three of us ate breakfast before setting off again. Richard packed his bags, checked out of the hotel and came with us for a visit to the eastern track of the Kalloni Salt Pans.

I tried to get the Black and the White Storks close together but they would not play ball, also in the picture is Grey Heron and a Little Egret

It was a glorious morning, superb light, not a whiff of a breeze and the eastern track gave us views of the bird filled salt pans. We had much closer views of the Slender-billed Gulls or at least two of the four that were reported. Further along we relocated the Dalmatian Pelican, this time the bird was awake and busy preening itself.

distant and blurred by heat-haze - Slender-billed Gulls

In the grassy margin and in the marshy area behind us we found Zitting Cisticola, a beautiful male Black-headed Yellow Wagtail and several Red-=throated Pipits. Red-backed Shrikes dashed from the bushes onto some unsuspecting insects, breakfast I suppose. Birds in flight included Black Stork, Little & Common Terns, Marsh Harrier and on the way back to the car park we saw six Egrets fly over and on closer inspection we saw that they were Cattle Egrets, our first new bird of the day and Richards last new bird of the trip!

this Dalmatian Pelican performed well for us today

It was approaching 11am and Ricard needed to be at the airport before 1pm so we took him there, arriving just before 12 noon.  So now it was just me and Guy for the next 24 hours. We drove back to Mesa and area east of the salt pans with fresh water marshes and coastal lagoons. We ate our lunch watching an Olivaceous Warbler singing as it moved from bush to bush.

Standing on an old bridge we scanned both the marshes and the coastal lagoons and came up with four Squacco Herons and our very first Water Rail of the trip!

one of two birds watched at lunchtime, I love the fine streaking on this Red-rumped Swallow

A Track led us northward passed the marshes  we scanned a couple of open pools where Wood Sandpipers, a single Little Stint, a pair of Little Ringed Plovers and a couple more Squacco Herons were seen.

another lunchtime entertainer - the Olivaceous Warbler

The track brought us to large open area of cultivated fields with some scrub, it was surrounded by a ring of high ridges of wooded hillside, perfect for raptor watching, except the raptors hadn’t been told how good it was! We stood for nearly an hour and saw two Common Buzzards, one Long-legged Buzzard carrying food, a single Short-toed Eagle and the best sighting was of a Honey Buzzard.

In the scrub around us we took great pleasure in watching Whinchats, Red-backed and Woodchat Shrikes, Linnets and Goldfinches, lots of Corn Buntings and in the bushes near a dried-up stream we saw and heard a Great Reed Warbler! Other bird song included Common Nightingale, Cetti’s Warbler and Subalpine Warbler.

one of six Squacco Herons seen on the marsh at Mesa

Back on the road we worked our way back to the salt pans stopping to scan open filed and brackish pools, we saw more Yellow Wagtail and all the usual suspects in the pools. We were at the Alkykes Wetland watching both Black and White Storks, with a Grey Heron and a couple of Little Egrets when a message came out about a Goshawk and a Levant’s Sparrowhawk performing near the Tsiknias River.

the Robust Damselfly, this is one of thousands seen on the reeds at Mesa, a plague of damselflies how bizzare?

just multiply this picture a thousand times to evisage the number of Robust Damselflies that were present.

We arrived a few minutes later and the birds had gone of course, but we had a pleasant time working our way southward along the east-side of the river. Lots of birds were out and about, we especially noted Bee-eaters, Turtle Doves, Black-headed Buntings and a lot of Squacco Herons, there must have been a ‘fall’ of them today.

another pic of the Dalmatian Pelican

After one more circuit of the Tsiknias River, Loxaria (where we found 2 Greenshanks in a pool), the east side of the salt pans (where we watched a group of marsh terns, Whiskered and White-winged) we drove back to the hotel to call it day.