KALLONI OLD RESERVOIR – METOCHI LAKE – RIVER TSIKNIAS – LOTZARIA – KALLONI SALT PANS
WEATHER: dull and overcast, rain showers for most of the time. Tempm 15C
Our last morning on the beautiful island of Lesvos had arrived, alas the weather was quite poor with very bad light and light rain for most of the time. But that did not stop Guy and myself having an enjoyable morning, we saw lots of species and added three new birds to our list.
It was raining quite hard when we got up, it eased off after a short while, we were able to stand outside of the bus without getting too wet. Still desperate to see a Night Heron we decided to visit Kalloni Old Reservoir and Metochi Lake which are the best places in the area to find them. We drew a blank at both sites but enjoyed Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Moorhen, Coot and Mallard.
With time to spare before breakfast we made an effort to see the Garganey which had joined the Ferruginous Duck in the River Tsiknias. It took just a few minutes to get there and along the way we stopped off at the Long-eared Owl nest site to see if we could get better views of this lovely creature.
Both a chick and an adult were showing reasonably well and I managed to get the pictures shown below:
Long-eared Owl Chick
the adult Long-eared Owl
The Garganey and the Ferruginous Duck showed well and were often feeding in close proximity, it interesting to watch a diving duck (Ferruginous) working the river with a dabbling duck (the Garganey).
Ferruginous Duck with the Garganey
After breakfast we drove to the mouth of the river Tsiknias where a pair of Rufous Bush Robins had claimed territory and the male was often singing from the top of various bushes. We went to have look at him and sure enough there he was singing away, I can’t tell how many hours I have spent looking for this prized bird in the past, so to walk 100 meters and find one straight away was quite extraordinary.
Rufous Bush Robin
As we walked back to the bus Guy looked up and picked out a heron in flight, it was a flipping NIGHT HERON, hallelujah!!! We finally saw a Night Heron.
We drove across the ford of the river onto to a track that leads you to the salt pans, you pass through an area called Lotzaria, you can view a seasonal pool from this track and on it we saw Greenshank, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover and in the grassy field around the pool we saw lots of Yellow Wagtails and a Red-throated Pipit.
A last attempt was made to see a Tawny Pipit, it had been seen this morning by other birders so we checked out the ‘race track’ one more. Guess what? The bird wasn’t there!
Blkack-tailed Godwits with an Avocet
A bonus bird was seen on the way out of the salt pans as we crawled down the west side, we stopped to look at a flock of Ruff and a few meters away we saw 5 Black-tailed Godwits, a new bird for our list. We also saw Stone Curlew on the gassy bank.
At the roadside pool opposite the western entrance to the salt pans we found two Temminck’s Stints and a half a dozen Wood Sandpipers. We also watched three Whiskered Terns working their way along the ‘canal’ that circumnavigates the salt pans.
Time was pressing and we had to call it day and set off to the airport for our flight to Thessaloniki, Guy was staying for a two day extension and I shall be meeting my next group on Sunday for a week long trip to Lake Kerkini.
We saw Squacco Heron, Alpine Swift, Hoopoe and Jay as we travelled to the airport and they were our last birds of the trip. We has seen 160 species and missed at least ten species that ‘could have been’ on the list if we had had been at the right place at the right time.
It had been a great trip, Lesvos really does produce the goods for bird-watchers, I can’t wait to return next year.