Saturday, October 17, 2015

Birding in Northern Greece: October 12-16, 2015

Macedonia and Greece are the best regions of Greece no matter the season; that held true once again during our bird trip with Richard Albano and Roxane Larouche, that lasted from October 12th to October 16th. We visited almost every major birding site (Lake Kerkini, Rodopi Mountain Range, Dadia National Park etc) and saw or heard more than 135 species, including the critically endangered Lesser White-fronted Goose, the impressive White-tailed Eagle and the secretive Hazel Grouze!

White Pelicans were present in large numbers in Lake Kerkini

The Nutcracker is a common resident of the Rodopi Mountain Range

Dadia National Park is the only place in Greece with breeding Black and Griffon Vultures

We will give you a detailed report for every day in the next few days; keep watching the blog!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Trip report Sat 5th 2015: Rufous Bush Robin & Broad-billed Sandpiper

A great day of autumn birding on Saturday 5th 2015. An overall of 65 species of birds were recorded, the highlights being Rufous Bush Chat (first time recorded at Spata fields) as well as Broad-billed Sandpiper at Schinias National Park.
We visited various location, starting from Kesariani Monasteri at Hymettus Mt. A couple of Firecrests was very active, as well as the nesting Tawny Owl.  Coal Tits and Cirl Buntings were all around. Later on, we moved up the summit of Mt.Hymettus, were we saw many migrating Willow Warblers, breeding Chukar, and Sardinian Warblers.
We drove towards Spata fields, were we saw Rufous Bush Chat just for a few seconds, even though we tried hard to see it again. Probably this was a migrant from the nearby nesting sites at Markopoulo fields. Tawny Pipits, Black-headed Wagtails, Red-back and Woodchat Shrikes, Hoopoe were some of the other sightings.
Our next stop was Loutsa Lagoon, were we had good views of Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers, as well as Black-winged Stilts.

Schinias National Park
Our final destination was Schinias National Park. After a short walk in the rowing center, we headed towards the heart of the marshes. Lots of waders, like Marsh Sandpipers, Greenshank, Ruff, more than 20 Wood Sandpipers and somewhere in the middle, a stunning Broad-billed Sandpiper. This species is not easy to find every year, the best season being mid September in wetlands like Schinias, Loutsa Lagoon and Oropos estuary.

Broad-billed Sandpiper at Schinias National Park

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Birdwatching in Athens: Black Storks at Schinias National Park!

The Black Stork is a very rare visitor to Athens, seen so far very few times and almost exclusively in autumn.

Such was the case of three birds seen during a full day trip at Schinias National Park. The birds were flying low for a while, then circled a few times to gain height and headed south...

A very beautiful bird, the Black Stork is a very rare sighting in Athens

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Birdwatching in Athens: Athens Half-day Trip, September 3rd

September is the peak month of autumn migration and even a few hours in the field can be really productive. Such was the case of a half-day trip on September, 3 with Robert and Joanne Kowalczyk from Massachusetts, USA.

First, we visited Mt Parnitha; to look for resident breeders like the Sombre Tit and any migrant that would be present. And there were a lot! Redstarts, Spotted Flycatchers, Black-eared Wheatears, Whitethroats and many more were feeding on the berries of the Turpentine Tree. Sombre Tits, Cirl Buntings, Sardinian Warblers were also easy to find in the bushes, while Rock Nuthatches and Blue Rock Thrushes were calling from the nearby rocky outcrops.
Black-eared Wheatear


Deeper in the forest, Long-tailed Tits were abundant, while Jays and Great Tits were also very common.
Long-tailed Tit

Next station was Oropos Lagoon, Athens' most important brackish wetland. We found Kentish Plovers, Shags, Mediterranean Gulls and many Wood Sandpipers. Migrating Yellow Wagtails were around, along with lots of Little Egrets and Grey Herons. A few Red-rumped Swallows were also present.

Kentish Plover

Last stop was Mt Hymettus. We looked for Coal Tits, Firecrests and Short-toed Treecreepers and we found them all!

It was a very hot day (no winds at all and very increased humidity in the air) but still Athens proved once again how rich birdlife it holds; 43 species seen and heard!

CHECKLIST OF THE TRIP (P = Mt Parnitha, O = Oropos Lagoon, H = Mt Hymettus)

Shag O
Little Egret O
Grey Heron O
Kestrel P
Kentish Plover O
Redshank O
Greenshank O
Wood Sandpiper O
Mediterranean Gull O
Yellow-legged Gull O
Collared Dove O
Crested Lark O
Barn Swallow PO
Red-rumped Swallow O
Yellow Wagtail O
Northern Wheatear P
Black-eared Wheatear P
Blue Rock Thrush P
Blackbird PH
Zitting Cisticola O
Blackcap P
Lesser Whitethroat P
Whitethroat P
Sardinian Warbler POH
Willow Warbler PH
Firecrest H
Spotted Flycatcher PH
Great Tit PH
Coal Tit H
Log-tailed Tit P
Sombre Tit P
Rock Nuthatch P
Short-toed Treecreeper H
Red-backed Shrike P
Jay PH
Magpie OH
Hooded Crow PO
Raven P
Chaffinch PH
House Sparrow OH
Cirl Bunting PH

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Demoiselle Crane, terek Sandpipers at Porto Lagos, Northern Greece

Autumn migration is in it's peak, it terms of waders activity. This year, Porto Lagos area is rich is rare birds, such as this beautiful Demoiselle Crane, as well as Terek Sandpipers, not to mention plenty of Broad-billed Sandpipers. Birdwatching in the big wetlands of Northern Greece, during August and September can reveal many unexpected sightings.

Demoiselle Crane

Terek Sandpiper

Broad-billed Sandpipers

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Σταύρακας & Σκαρέας 2015: Τα Πουλιά της Αττικής

Σταύρακας & Σκαρέας 2015: Τα Πουλιά της Αττικής
Σταύρακας & Σκαρέας 2015: Τα Πουλιά της Αττικής. Οδηγός Παρατήρησης πουλιών της Αθήνας και της Αττικής
Τα Πουλιά της Αττικής είναι το πρώτο βιβλίο που παρουσιάζει με λεπτομέρεια την άγνωστη αλλά πλούσια ορνιθοπανίδα της Αθήνας και της Αττικής. Πάνω απο 300 διαφορετικά είδη πουλιών μένουν μόνιμα ή επισκέπτονται την περιοχή, πολλά εκ των οποίων είναι σπάνια και απειλούμενα, όπως η Βαλτόπαπια και ο Σπιζαετός ή έχουν πολύ περιορισμένη εξάπλωση παγκοσμίως όπως ο Αιγαιοτσιροβάκος και το Φρυγανοτσίχλονο.
Μέσα απο 370 φωτογραφίες αλλά και λεπτομερείς χάρτες των πιο σημαντικών περιοχών για τα πουλιά της Αττικής, το βιβλίο αυτό των Λευτέρη Σταύρακα και Σπύρου Σκαρέα φιλοδοξεί να αποτελέσει πολύτιμο βοήθημα σε έμπειρους αλλά και νέους παρατηρητές πουλιών που θέλουν να μάθουν περισσότερα για τους φτερωτούς κατοίκους της πιο πυκνοκατοικημένης περιοχής της Ελλάδας.

Έκδοση Αύγουστος 2015, σελ 236.
ISBN: 978-960-9779-06-7             

ΤΙΜΗ 20 ευρώ!

Προμηθευτείτε το με αντικαταβολή απο ή στο τηλέφωνο 210-6022315.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Birdwatching at Lake Kerkini: Greece's birding paradise!

Birding at Lake Kerkini in spring is always amazing. Lots of colourful birds, butterflies, reptiles, where wild nature is alive.
Even at a day trip in the area can easily provide more than 100 species. Highlights:
- Masked Shrike, especially close to hills and low vegetation

Masked Shrike with prey in its mouth
Masked Shrike
White Stork with Mt Belles as backround

A couple of Great Crested Grebes is preparing the floating nest!

- Eastern Orphean Warblers
- Levant Sparrowhawk
- Orioles, Olivaceaus Warblers and Nightingales singing non stop
- Dalmatian Pelicans and Pygmy Cormorants 
Typical Kerkini birdscape pic: a tree full of Pygmy Cormorants

Red-backed Shrike
Little Owl

Birdwatching in Athens: June's highlights!

On June 7th we had a splendid day birding around Athens, mainly small wetlands together with Hymettus Mt. Lots of interesting species, together with eating traditional gyros at lunch time.
We started from Hymettus Mt, were we encountered Rueppell's Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, surprisingly missed Blue Rock Thrush and Rock Nuthatch.
We continued in Spata fields, which are still full of water, so this helped us to see a nice Whiskered Tern! Other species were Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Squacco herons, Black-winged Stilts.
Our next stop was Artemis (Loutsa) lagoon, were we heard the monotonous flight song of Zitting Cisticolas. It was only until we reached Vravrona Estuary that we managed to have great looks of this tiny little bird.
Zitting Cisticola at Vravrona fields, performing gymnastics!

The highlights of the day were:
a. Two Rufous Scrub Robins, at their ordinary patch, displaying and singing non stop, at Vravrona fields, close to Athens Airport.
Rufous Scrub Robin at Vravrona fields
 b. A beautiful Hoopoe that was following our car in Spata fields, together with Black-headed Buntings, the typical summer singer in Attica fields.

Black-headed Bunting singing on a thirstle
The full species list of June 7th bird trip:

Little Grebe
Black-winged Stilt
Glossy Ibis
Little Egret
Squacco heron
Purple heron
Common Buzzard
Common Kestrel
Yellow-legged Gull
Whiskered Tern
Common Swift
House Martin
Barn Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
Crested Lark
Sardinian Warbler
Rueppell's Warbler
Subalpine Warbler
Zitting Cisticola
Olivaceous Warbler (heard)
Sedge Warbler (heard)
Reed Warbler (heard) Woodchat Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike
Rufous Bush Robin
Great Tit
Collared Dove
Hooded Crow
House Sparrow
Black-headed Bunting
Corn Bunting

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Birdwatching in Greece with Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen is not just a famous author but also a very keen birdwatcher. His desire was to see a Syrian Woodpecker, the only European woodpecker he hadn't seen so far. So, who is the best to help him find his lifer? Greece Bird Tours of course! We arranged a special tour just to see this bird, but we also got some really good views of the Black Stork as well.

Another succesfull bird trip is over!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Birdwatching in Greece: More migration snapshots

More pics of migrants, on their way to the north.

Barn Swallows are very common in agricultural land

A Turtle Dove resting on a tree stand at the plain of Kopaida, Central Greece
Night Heron in a ditch at the plain of Kopaida

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