Visit Lesvos in 2017!

STE 1086 12 Apr 15In 2015 and 2016 Lesvos was dominated by the horrific refugee crisis. Whilst the conflict in Syria is far from resolved, it appears that the route in to Europe via Turkey and Lesvos remains, for the time being at least, closed to fleeing refugees. Lesvos has not seen any significant new arrivals of refugees since the first quarter of 2016.

The withdrawal of charter flights and holidays from across Europe during 2016 was devastating for the island. Some have come back on line, but many have not. For 2017 this includes the main birding weeks of mid-April to early May which up unit 2016 were provided by Thomas Cook, and for 2017 have been deleted from their schedule.

In 2016 the island lost a significant amount of its tourism. Depending on the resort, this was by as much as 95%. 2017 will be little better if we don’t encourage people to travel to the island independently – charter flights and package holidays are not the only option! See here.

The island remains unchanged. It is still the beautiful and relatively unspoilt island many of us have come to love over many years of visiting. And it is safe. In nearly 20 years I have personally never come across any crime or heard of birders being victims of crime. And with fewer tourists there is more chance of losing yourself completely on this fabulously bird-rich island.

So I urge you to go in April and/or early May and book the individual components of your holiday yourself. It is very easy.

Flights
There are direct flights to Athens from many European airports including the UK from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stagnated, Manchester and Edinburgh. Just search in Google for your preferred departure airport or sites such as skyscanner.com or booking.com

Hotels
You can book your hotel via sites such as booking.com or search for the hotels online and book direct wit the hotel.

Care hire
Book this as normal with your preferred car rental company. There are lots to choose from on Lesvos, and many local firms such as Tsalis, Lesvos Car Hire in additional the regular multinational companies. Car rental companies will deliver the car to either the airport or to your hotel.

Getting from the airport to your hotel
If you are collecting your car form the airport then all good. Just follow these instructions to get from the airport and through Mytilini.

If you need a transfer to your hotel, then either ask your hotel or car rental company to organise it for you, or you can book a taxi with Lesvos Taxi Service.

There is more information on this website in this section.

Thank you for supporting the people of Lesvos.

Steve Dudley
27 December 2016

Spring 2017 flights – an update

aegean_airlinesIf you’re planning your spring 2017 holidays then please consider coming to Lesvos.

Thomas Cook have confirmed they will only be flying from 6 May so we have lost three weeks of birding flights from mid-April which is not simply disappointing for us birders, but financially devastating those business for which the birding Euro is a significant part of their annual income.

I spent some time during the year looking for alternatives to these flights but sadly none came to fruition. Flying aeroplanes is very expensive it is very difficult to convince airline companies that we had an economically viable proposition for them.

The three lost Thomas Cook weeks are three of the best birding weeks on the island. The week of 6-13 May is still very good, but beyond that the spring birding is relatively poor compared to mid-April to early May.

So I would still encourage you to go in April and/or early May and book the individual components of your holiday yourself. It is very easy.

Flights
There are direct flights to Athens from many European airports including the UK from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stagnated, Manchester and Edinburgh. Just search in Google for your preferred departure airport or sites such as skyscanner.com or booking.com

Hotels
You can book your hotel via sites such as booking.com or search for the hotels online and book direct wit the hotel.

Care hire
Book this as normal with your preferred car rental company. There are lots to choose from on Lesvos, and many local firms such as Tsalis, Lesvos Car Hire in additional the regular multinational companies. Car rental companies will deliver the car to either the airport or to your hotel.

Getting from the airport to your hotel
If you are collecting your car form the airport then all good. Just follow these instructions to get from the airport and through Mytilini.

If you need a transfer to your hotel, then either ask your hotel or car rental company to organise it for you, or you can book a taxi with Lesvos Taxi Service.

There is more information on this website in this section.

Steve Dudley
27 December 2016

What I think about my new Swarovski EL 8×32 binoculars

Using my new Swarovski kit. Lesvos, April 2016

Using my new Swarovski kit. Lesvos, April 2016


 
Swarovski EL 8x32 W B

Swarovski EL 8×32 W B

In January I took delivery of a new pair of binoculars as part of Lesvos Birding partnership with Swarovski Optik. This was the first pair of non-Leica binoculars I had had since 1989. For 20 of those 27 years I was also a member of Leica’s Optical Innovation Team which meant that since the ’90s I had used only optics which I had personally helped design. So moving from Leica after such a close relationship was, for me, both a big deal and very personal.

But I knew the time was coming. Since I stopped working with Leica I’ve followed the optics market keenly making sure I tested many new products which not only interested me as a birder, but also from the design and technological perspective too.

The open-bridge style of binocular is nothing new, it’s been around for over 100 years, but the reinvention of the open-bridge binocular we’ve seen over the last 15 years has revolutionized the optics market. Around 50% of all models sold are now open-bridge, so if you’re a manufacturer without an open-bridge model you’re not only lagging well behind, but you’re also losing sales.

When I started birding in the ‘80s, I yearned for a pair of Zeiss Dialyt 7×42 binoculars. This elegant semi-open-bridge model remains a design classic and combined superb optics, superb handling and great design (shame they aren’t waterproof – the only thing that stopped me buying a pair). I was privileged to use a pair only last month and they still held their wow! factor despite now being an optical and industrial design which is over 30 years old.

The semi-open-bridge Zeiss Dialyt 7x42 BGATs - a design classic

The semi-open-bridge Zeiss Dialyt 7×42 BGATs – a design classic

Despite my love of the Zeiss 7x42s I wasn’t a fan of the new generation of open-bridged models which have flooded the market over the last 15 years. It wasn’t until I held Swarovski’s new EL 8x32s, and recently became reacquainted with the Zeiss 7x42s I realized why – handling.

I always know when I like a binocular just by picking them up. How they handle is primary to my using experience. They have to feel innate, natural, both in the hand and when held to the eyes. And we’re all different as we have different sized and shaped hands and different eyes – even more different if like me you’re a spectacle wearer so the binoculars have to fit your glasses too.

Since closed-bridge models have dominated my birding life they’re familiar in the hand and feel right. So when new designs come out they don’t necessarily feel as natural. So as the new generation of open-bridged models arrived on the market I didn’t get on with them. Despite some having superb optics, they just didn’t do anything for me in the hand. And this began to grate with me as I knew in recent years my birding binoculars of choice (my Leica Ultravid 8×42 HD and Ultravid 8×32 HD) were being superseded and I was no longer looking through the best optics.

So when I got to look through a pair of the new (2015) Swarovski EL 8×32 W B binoculars I was swept away. Here, at last, was an open-bridge model which felt completely natural to me. Based on a previous model, the relatively minor design tweaks (including reduced weight) had produced a binocular that I could now use and, importantly, had the best optics out there.

Having small hands for a bloke I’ve never been keen on larger binoculars with many of the new 42mm models being too large or too long for my hands. And some of the 32mm models are just a tad too small. I used the Leica Ultravid 8×32 HDs daily on my dog walks, but despite being petit and light (540g) they remained my second choice as they were just a little too small, even for my smaller hands, and for my birding proper I preferred the larger Leica Ultravid 8×42 HDs. Although significantly larger and heavier (790g) than the 8x32s, they handled better and had the optical edge.

The Swarovski EL 8x32s now delivered for me the best of both worlds – the right size (being only slightly smaller in the hand than my Leica 8x42s) and lighter weight at 570g – and the optics – wow!

For my small hands the size and handling is just terrific. They’re supremely comfortable, the strap lugs are in the right place, the reach to the focus wheel spot on, the improved hold the open-bridge provides with your fingers wrapping more around the open barrels provide a more secure grip, especially when picking the binocular up off a table – one of the most likely times you’re ever going to drop them! The minimal thumb recess on the back isn’t as restrictive as some grooves/ridges (including the Leica 8×42) so provides a much more comfortable hold when held to my eyes.

From left: Leica Ultravid 8x42 HD, Swarovski EL 8x32 W B, Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD. The Swarovski is nearly the same size as my preferred old Leica 8x42s but lighter and narrow barrelled providing me with my best binocular experience to date.

From left: Leica Ultravid 8×42 HD, Swarovski EL 8×32 W B, Leica Ultravid 8×32 HD. The Swarovski is nearly the same size as my preferred old Leica 8x42s but lighter and narrow barrelled providing me with my best binocular experience to date.

The image is natural, bright and wide (the latter when wearing glasses as I do). They say the field of view is a market leading 141m at 1000m but this is hard to see over my existing Leica models (the 8x32s are 135m at 1000m) and both models have a comfortable and wide image, just the Swarovskis are brighter and more naturally coloured and just have an overall punch and depth to the image the Leica models lack. The Swarovski also has a flatter field, and although this took some getting used to at first, it’s no longer apparent unless I look for the very minor barreling when panning from side to side. Likewise, chromatic aberration is something you have to look for at the edge of the field of view against a bright sky, and in everyday use is never noticed. Watching a brightly backlit Short-toed Eagle in Lesvos last month posed no problem, still rendering the subtlest of plumage detail on the pale undersides easily discernible.

Despite enjoying my new bins since the moment I got them, it wasn’t until I spent my annual spring month on Lesvos (from the middle of April) that I felt completely at ease with them. Until my arrival on the island I found I was always looking to find fault in them – only natural when they’re the first model you’ve owned in over 20 years which you haven’t personally help design. But on arrival in Lesvos I relaxed and just started to simply enjoy my new optics soon realising that they are simply superb and quite simply the best binoculars I’ve ever used. Whether watching migrating raptors, waders across the open expanse of the saltpans, warblers flitting high in the canopy or skulking in the ground scrub, or insects less than 2m away, they are just superb to look through and hold. And the reduced weight (570g) from my Leica Ultravid 8×42 HDs (790g) I use on all my trips was very welcome both in the hand and around my neck after a long day in the field.

Design features, be they aesthetic or supposedly functional, and accessories, have long been a bugbear of mine as they are so important to the overall use of a binocular. When I worked with Leica we used to spend what the designers told me was a disproportionate amount of time working on what they saw as relatively minor features, detail and accessories – and that’s because the designers were not users like me, and they constantly over-designed some items only to have them reined in by myself and others – sadly sometimes not always reined in enough.

So as much as I love my new bins there remain a few niggles (show me a binocular that is perfect!). Minor, often personal things do make a difference.

The new Swarosvki strap, despite looking superbly designed, is not for me. I don’t get what all that loose cord stuff is about – and not being one averse to taking scissors or a knife to something to improve them, I couldn’t see how I was going to get something I wanted out of this strap. For me they’ve over-designed what should be the simplest of accessories. Once you’ve set a strap’s length to your liking there should be no more too it. You don’t need fancy adjustment because you should never need to adjust it. So I selected the simplest of the Swarovski straps because once fixed to length, it will never be altered again (I have a second longer strap to use in extreme cold weather (e.g. in winter in Iceland) when I need a longer strap to use with my winter parka which has a much larger neckline).

Strap options for the new Swarovski EL 8x32s and the new rotating lug connectors, from the top:  Swarovski's new 'cord' adjustable strap fitted with rotating connectors that fit straight into the sides of the binocular; the old adjustable Swarovski strap and the my preferred classic simple Swarovski strap - just fix the length, cut off any excess, and job done (these two straps use an adaptor to thread the traditional flat lanyard through to connect to the sides of the binocular as seen on the bottom strap).

Strap options for the new Swarovski EL 8x32s, from the top: Swarovski’s new ‘cord’ adjustable strap fitted with rotating connectors that fit straight into the sides of the binocular; the old adjustable Swarovski strap and the my preferred classic simple Swarovski strap – just fix the length, cut off any excess, and job done (these two straps use an adaptor to thread the traditional flat lanyard through to connect to the sides of the binocular as seen on the bottom strap).

The new rotating strap lugs don’t do it for me. They look fantastic and refreshingly different, but when I put my bins down I find that around 50% of the time one or both of the lugs have rotated more than 180 degrees causing the strap to twist. So I find I’m having to check this every time I pick them up – not something I have to do with the good old fashioned simple lugs we’ve all grown up with.

The new rotating strap lugs on the EL 32 - left, with no strap attached they look strangely naked with the traditional strap lug replaced by a swivel and lock connector; and right, with the strap attached with the rotating lug. These look new and refreshing as a design to make the ELs stand out from their competitors.

The new rotating strap lugs on the EL 32 – left, with no strap attached they look strangely naked with the traditional strap lug replaced by a swivel and lock connector; and right, with the strap attached with the rotating lug. These look new and refreshing as a design to make the ELs stand out from their competitors.

Are these two features symptoms of trying too hard to be different from their competitors? My 20 years with Leica would say yes. For me they go with thumb grooves and ridges which were in vogue some years back, and which are slowly being designed out as manufacturers realise that such features aren’t for everyone and these are over-designed features that worked perfectly well and didn’t need changing.

The rainguard however is spot on. I can’t remember a Swarovski rainguard that I would have used in the recent past as they used to be over-designed, but the return to a simple, no-nonsense design means I can use the one supplied (with only the merest of modifications shaving off the tiny raised bumps on the inside of each eyepiece cover to reduce the grip on the eyecups to ease slipping them on and off) – not something I’ve done with any of my Leicas for many years (I used a Duovid rainguard on my Ultravid 42s and an old Trinovid 32 rainguard on my Ultravid 32s as can be seen on the picture above). With attachment loops on both sides the rainguard can be used on the left, right, or attached to both sides (I’ve always found it odd those manufacturers that make you connect the rainguard on a fixed side – what if its not your preferred side?)

The  EL 32 rainguard, with connectors on both sides, is both well-designed and perfectly simple

The EL 32 rainguard, with connectors on both sides, is both well-designed and perfectly simple

The case supplied with the Swarovski EL 8x32s is nice and large and easily houses the binoculars and folded strap.

Your choice of birding binocular will always be a compromise of optical performance, handling and budget. Even at the top end of the market you can find models with a brighter image, a wider field or better close focusing. But are they a neat, lightweight package like the Swarovski EL 32s? Do they handle as well as these EL 32s? For me, no, because these Swarovski ELs are the ultimate bird and wildlife 32mm binocular. Congratulations Swarovski.

More information including technical spec on the Swarovski site – view

Leica developing the marque 2

I’ve had a long association with the optics trade including as a member of Leica’s Optics Innovation Team for 20 years, helping Leica to deliver all of their birding optics in the 1990s and 2000s, as described in this Leica brochure page from 2001.

Steve Dudley
30 May 2016

Thomas Cook update inc. 2017 schedule

thomas_cook_plane
I’ve had a very open and frank discussion with Thomas Cook since I returned from the island last week. The discussion was delayed as the two key people were themselves out in the Aegean on fact finding visits to bring themselves up to date with the current situation, outlook for the rest of the 2016 season and looking ahead to the 2017 season.

They’ve outlined in detail to me their ongoing pressures that they are continuing to face, not only with Lesvos, but also other Aegean destinations, as a consequence of the refugee crisis.

They rightly point out that their business is also a victim of something which is way beyond anyone’s control, let alone their own. I have to agree with them here as I think its very easy for people to criticise large companies for not continuing running services, but, as anyone who runs a business will appreciate, a company can only absorb so much loss without having to make some changes. That apples to any business large or small.

Thomas Cook outlined the reasons to reduce its schedule for this year (a collapse in bookings to Lesvos and other Aegean islands), which when you see the numbers (which I am not at liberty to disclose) is fully understandable. But at least they continued to fly to the island (unlike many other European charter companies), and they have also committed to fly in 2017.

For 2017 they have told me that it is very unlikely that they will reinstate the lost April birding weeks flights. They can easily work out from these birding week flights who were birders and who were not, and they know that birder numbers were well down this year, in particular the 16 April flight which was far from full and was largely made up of aid workers with low tens of birders (this matched my own assessment from my own enquiries about this flight and I estimated the number of birders on it at no more than 30). So the reduction in capacity on the reduced schedule they operated to Lesvos this spring, aligned with increasing demand elsewhere, has led them to their decision to remove the early spring birding weeks from their schedule. Had these birding weeks flights all been filled with birders then things might have been different (but thats an unknown cos they weren’t full of birders).

They have a review of their 2017 schedule in July, but I’ve already been told that things would have to change significantly in a positive direction for them to change their schedule from that now advertised (and that is not predicted).

On a wider issue, they have been lobbying both in the UK and in Greece for government, tourism boards, local authorities, etc to be much more positive in their promotion of Lesvos and the other Aegean islands (but Lesvos in particular). TC are very critical of various agencies lack of support for a region which depends on tourism. This echoes conversations I had with many of those on the island who I spoke with this spring, in that they feel abandoned by their own authorities (they see all the help given to refugees but no help whatsoever for local peoples’ livelihoods). Mainstream media aside, TC are also critical of some of the negative social media coverage of Lesvos (not on our group, but on other groups and sites – they clearly monitor all these various media outlets very closely) which they feel really does detrimentally impact on interest for Lesvos and the region as a whole.

On an optimistic note, that say that they can be flexible and can pick things up quickly should they see significant change in interest/demand. They’re working hard to fill their planes this year and next, and if demand outstrips availability in 2017 it will be the signal for them to look to increase again from 2018. This is much more positive than I had expected – I thought it would be years before they would talk about rebuilding their schedule again.

We can all play a part in helping with increasing the interest. We can all post positive reviews of our spring 2016 trips on our own timelines (not just on here) and on other groups were this would be permitted. We can write reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor (a very important site for the individual traveller, hotels, resorts, tavernas and tour operators). We need to shout loud and proud that Lesvos remains safe, is as beautiful as ever and is open for business. If each of us do this on a couple of sites then it can help. Please don’t just say ‘it won’t help’ – do it anyway in the hope that it does – not for yourself, not for me, not for TC, but for all our friends on Lesvos whose livelihoods are on a knife-edge.

I will continue to talk with TC and they know that I will support them in any way I can to help them build their birding business back up on the island. I’m also talking to others, from journalists to local authorities, to see where I, and our Lesvos birding community, can help them retain what little tourism remains, and start building on it for 2017.

Lesvos is still open for business!

Lesvos, April 2016

Lesvos, April 2016

I’ve not long returned from a month on Lesvos and guess what – I survived! Liz, myself and hundreds of birders enjoyed our annual birding weeks on this most beautiful of Greek Aegean islands. Just look at all the positive posts about this spring’s birding on the Lesvos Birderds Facebook group (a private group but just ask to join and we’ll let you in).

And we all loved Lesvos this spring despite the generality negative media representation of the island and it being on the front line of the refugee crisis. In a month there I saw only a handful of refugees (and had to go looking for them), i saw a coastline that has been cleaned up, I saw small and relatively discrete facilities at key points to support the refugees, and I saw absolutely no signs of any troubles. And by the way, there are virtually no new arriving refugees to the island since the deal with Turkey was struck last month. The crisis has physically impacted only a tiny fraction of the island, and even these few areas are beginning to return to normality with the cessation of arriving refugees.
What I also saw were friends with businesses – hotels, tavernas, cafes – all desperate about their future. The island depends on tourism and tourism is about 10% of what it was 10 years ago. Do the maths, the island cannot survive at that level.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Lesvos remains completely safe and right now pretty much empty of other tourists! So if you want to escape, leave the crowds behind, then please consider Lesvos this summer or next year.
And if you go (or have recently been) and have a great time, then please post a review on your own timeline, post reviews on TripAdvisor and other such sites. The more we do, the more people will see that Lesvos can still be a great holiday destination.

From the UK, Thomas Cook still has weekly flights to Lesvos (www.thomascookairlines.com) with some unbelievable deals available.

Or you can reach Lesvos (Mytilini) daily via Athens (or several times a week via Munich) both of which connect with many European airports.

What I wrote in January is still relevant and I am pleased to say encouraged many people to visit the island this spring. Please read and please come too – see here.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Banjos SPDSpoonbills, Kalloni Saltpans © Steve P. Dudley

NOTICES

This is the last daily log of the season as I am off home on Saturday morning and tomorrow night is to be spent with friends and saying my goodbyes rather than working!

Dirt tracks
Take care on all dirt roads. Most hire car insurance does not cover the underside of the car.

Water levels
Wetland levels are now very low or gone in many places places. Alykes Wetlands is completely dry. Tsiknias River and Metochi Lake have reasonable levels. Meladia Valley ford is nearly dry. Faneromani lower ford is completely dry and the upper ford is nearly dry. Polichnitos Saltpans was flooded two weeks ago, but this was simply adding water on to long hard ground so very few waders have been seen there to date. Alikoudi Pool still holds some water and is attracting small numbers of waders.

BIRD NEWS

Filia
BLACK KITE 1

Agios Fokas
LITTLE GULL 2

Tsiknias River
Shoveler 1
Squacco Heron 1
Night-heron 2
Little Bittern 1
Purple Heron 1
LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 1 (maybe same bird seen later over pans)

Kalloni Saltpans & Alykes Wetlands
Spoonbill 3
LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 1 (maybe same bird seen earlier over Tsiknias River)
Red-footed Falcon 3
CASPIAN TERN 7
White-winged Tern 3

Meladia
Little Bittern 1
Pallid Swift 1
GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO 1
Golden Oriole 1
Icterine Warbler 2
Wood Warbler 1
Red-breasted Flycatcher 2
Collared Flycatcher 2

Sigri & Faneromeni
Little Bittern 1
CASPIAN TERN 1
ROLLER 1
Golden Oriole 2
Olive-tree Warbler 1
Icterine Warbler 1
Garden Warbler 1
Red-breasted Flycatcher 1
Collared Flycatcher 1
Rufous Bush-robin 2
Ortolan Bunting 1
Black-headed Bunting 200+

Sigri Old Sanotorium
Purple Heron 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 2
Hobby 1
Barred Warbler 1
Red-breasted Flycatcher 1
Collared Flycatcher 1
Pied Flycatcher 1

Petrified Forest
Barred Warbler 1

Skala Sikaminias
Audouin’s Gull 1

Kalami Marsh & Mesa Wetland
Squacco Heron 1
Night-heron 1
Purple Heron 1

Potamia River main road bridge
Squacco Heron 1
Little Bittern 1

Kavaki
Ruppell’s Warbler 3

Agia Triada, Soumouria (Kalloni mini soccer pitch)
Scops Owl 7

For more bird news see the Lesvos Birders Facebook Group

For 2016 spring migrant first arrival dates see here

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 18.01.37Caspian Terns, Kalloni Saltpans © Jason Coppock

NOTICES

Dirt tracks
Take care on all dirt roads. Most hire car insurance does not cover the underside of the car.

Water levels
Wetland levels are now very low or gone in many places places including Alykes Wetlands. Tsiknias River and Metochi Lake have good levels. Meladia Valley ford is nearly dry. Faneromani lower ford is completely dry and the upper ford is nearly dry. Polichnitos Saltpans was flooded two weeks ago, but this was simply adding water on to long hard ground so very few waders have been seen there to date. Alikoudi Pool still holds some water and is attracting small numbers of waders.

BIRD NEWS

Plenty of Black-headed Buntings and Bee-eaters around now – I will only list significant counts/flock numbers.

Kalloni Saltpans & Alykes Wetlands
LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 1
PALLID HARRIER 2CY fem
Red-footed Falcon 3
Common Ringed Plover 14
Grey Plover 1
Temminck’s Stint 2
Little Stint 53
Curlew Sandpiper 67
RED KNOT 8 reported from NW corner
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE winter bird to 1730h at least in SW pans
CASPIAN TERN 7
Gull-billed Tern 1
Sandwich Tern 1
White-winged Tern 3
Black Tern 1
Tawny Pipit 1

Kalami Marsh & Mesa Wetland
Squacco Heron 2
Purple Heron 1
SPOTTED CRAKE 1
SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 1

Christou River
SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 1
Common Ringed Plover 2
Green Sandpiper 2
Curlew Sandpiper 4
Temminck’s Stint 1
Marsh Warbler 1

Tsiknias River
Shoveler 1
Night-heron 1
Little Bittern 1
Squacco Heron 1
Purple Heron 1
Grey Plover 1
Sanderling 3
Curlew 1

Kalloni Raptor Watchpoint
Eleonora’s Falcon 1

North Coast Track
Eleonora’s Falcon 1

Potamia River main road bridge
Squacco Heron 1
Purple Heron 1
Honey-buzzard 1

Ipsilou
Golden Oriole 3
Wood Warbler 1
Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 1

Antissa
Ortolan Bunting 1

Lotzaria
Red-footed Falcon 1

Sigri Old Sanotorium
Red-breasted Flycatcher 2

Faneromeni
Olive-tree Warbler 1
CITRINE WAGTAIL fem at upper ford

Tavari
Little Bittern 1
Squacco Heron 1

Perasma
Squacco Heron 3

Kavaki
Ruppell’s Warbler 3

Agia Triada, Soumouria (Kalloni mini soccer pitch)
Scops Owl 4

For more bird news see the Lesvos Birders Facebook Group

For 2016 spring migrant first arrival dates see here

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Phalarope ManningRed-necked Phalarope, Kalloni Saltpans © Paul Manning

NOTICES

Dirt tracks
Take care on all dirt roads. Most hire car insurance does not cover the underside of the car.

Water levels
Wetland levels are now very low or gone in many places places including Alykes Wetlands. Tsiknias River and Metochi Lake have good levels. Meladia Valley ford is nearly dry. Faneromani lower ford is completely dry and the upper ford is nearly dry.

BIRD NEWS

Plenty of Black-headed Buntings and Bee-eaters around now – I will only list significant counts/flock numbers.

Kalloni Saltpans & Alykes Wetlands
Red-footed Falcon 1
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE winter plumaged bird 0715 – 1930 at least in pans down west side of the pans
Common Ringed Plover 1
Temminck’s Stint 1
Little Stint 200+
Sanderling 1
Curlew Sandpiper 40
Spotted Redshank 1
CASPIAN TERN 1
Gull-billed Tern 7
White-winged Tern 4
Whiskered Tern 6
Black Tern 2
Tawny Pipit 1

Kalloni Raptor Watchpoint
STEPPE EAGLE 2CY over at 1530h (two previous records)
LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 2

Nr Eresos
RING OUZEL 1

Kalami Marsh & Mesa Wetland
Spoonbill 1
SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 1
CASPIAN TERN 2
ROLLER 1

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Monday, 2 May 2016

Pallid Harrier SPDPallid Harrier, Lotzaria © Steve P. Dudley

NOTICES

Dirt tracks
Take care on all dirt roads. Most hire car insurance does not cover the underside of the car.

Water levels
Wetland levels are now very low or gone in many places places including Alykes Wetlands. Tsiknias River and Metochi Lake have good levels. Meladia Valley ford is nearly dry. Faneromani lower ford is completely dry and the upper ford is nearly dry.

BIRD NEWS

Plenty of Black-headed Buntings and Bee-eaters around now – I will only list significant counts/flock numbers.

Tsiknias River
Little Bittern 6
Squacco Heron 5
Purple Heron 1
Red-footed Falcon 8
Eleonora’s Falcon 1
Slender-billed Gull 1
Gull-billed Tern 1
Sandwich Tern 1
Rufous Bush-robin 1

Ipsilou
Icterine Warbler 1
Blackcap 1
Lesser Whitethroat 3
Wood Warbler
Golden Oriole 2
Spotted Flycatcher 3
Ortolan Bunting 1

Meladia Valley
IMPERIAL EAGLE 2CY at 1150h
ROLLER 1

Kalloni Raptor Watchpoint
Goshawk 3
Eleonora’s Falcon 1

Potamia ‘mini’ reservoir
FERRUGINOUS DUCK 2
Night-heron 2
Little Bittern 1

Kalami Marsh
Garganey 2
Spoonbill 2
Night-heron 1
Purple Heron 5
SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 1

Kalloni Saltpans & Alykes Wetlands
Spoonbill 3
Montagu’s Harrier male
PALLID HARRIER 2CY fem (same as Lotzaria)
Red-footed Falcon 23
Common Ringed Plover 15
Spotted Redshank 3
Curlew Sandpiper 29
Dunlin 7
Temminck’s Stint 3
Collared Pratincole 1
Gull-billed Tern 12
White-winged Tern 2
Whiskered Tern 6
Rufous Bush-robin 3

Lotzaria
PALLID HARRIER 2CY fem (same as saltpans)
Gull-billed Tern 2

Christou River
Curlew Sandpiper 3

Perasma
Squacco Heron 5
Purple Heron 1
LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1
Ruppel’s Warbler 1

Agriosikos
Eleonora’s Falcon 1

Nr Skamnioudi
Olive-tree Warbler 2+

Sigri
LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 1
Ortolan Bunting 2

Faneromeni
ROLLER 1
Pied Flycatcher 1
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Common Redstart 1

Palios
Purple Heron 1

Kavaki
Ruppell’s Warbler 3

Agia Triada, Soumouria (Kalloni mini soccer pitch)
Scops Owl 7

For more bird news see the Lesvos Birders Facebook Group

For 2016 spring migrant first arrival dates see here

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Spoonbill ManningSpoonbill, Kalami Marsh © Paul Manning

NOTICES

Dirt tracks
Take care on all dirt roads. Most hire car insurance does not cover the underside of the car.

Water levels
Wetland levels are now very low or gone in many places places including Alykes Wetlands. Tsiknias River and Metochi Lake have good levels. Meladia Valley ford is nearly dry. Faneromani lower ford is completely dry and the upper ford is nearly dry.

Petrol Stations – Easter holiday opening
Monday – BP on the Mytilini road on east side of Kalloni
Tuesday – EKO on Mytilini road east of Kalloni just before the Tsiknias River road bridge

BIRD NEWS

Plenty of Black-headed Buntings and Bee-eaters around now – I will only list significant counts/flock numbers.

Tsiknias River
Shoveler 1
Little Bittern 2
Squacco Heron 3
RED KNOT 9 at river mouth (Greek national rarity. Only six previous records, all singles)
Turnstone 2
Gull-billed Tern 1
Rufous Bush-robin 1

Kalloni Raptor Watchpoint
IMPERIAL EAGLE 2CY at 1150h
LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1
Red-footed Falcon 4
Hobby 1

Potamia ‘mini’ reservoir
FERRUGINOUS DUCK 2
Night-heron 1

Kalloni Saltpans & Alykes Wetlands
PALLID HARRIER 2CY fem (same as Lotzaria)
Red-footed Falcon 51
Temminck’s Stint 1
Black Tern 2
Short-toed Lark 1
Red-throated Pipit 1
Rufous Bush-robin 1

Lotzaria
PALLID HARRIER 2CY fem (same as saltpans)
Montagu’s Harrier male
Lesser Grey Shrike 1

Christou River
PALLID HARRIER 2CY fem (same as saltpans and Tsiknias River)

Kalami Marsh
Garganey 2
Scuacco Heron 1
Night-heron 1
Spoonbill 1
Purple Heron 4
Water Rail 1
LEVANT SPARROWHAWK male
Gull-billed Tern 1
Nightjar 1

Lotzaria
Squacco Heron 3
Purple Heron 1
Golden Oriole 2

Klapados
Golden Oriole 1
Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 6+

Alikoudi Pool
Collared Pratincole 1
Common Ringed Plover 4
Temminck’s Stint 3
Curlew Sandpiper 2

Nr Skamnioudi
Olive-tree Warbler 4+

Sigri
SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 1
Common Redstart 1
Wood Warbler 1
Red-backed Shrike 30+

Faneromeni
ROLLER 2
Collared Flycatcher 1
Red-backed Shrike 20+

Kalloni Raptor Watchpoint
LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1

Nr Megalachori
Eleonora’s Falcon 1
usual buntings, wheatears, Blue Rock-thrush, etc

Kavaki
Ruppell’s Warbler 3

Agia Triada, Soumouria (Kalloni mini soccer pitch)
Scops Owl 7

For more bird news see the Lesvos Birders Facebook Group

For 2016 spring migrant first arrival dates see here

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