Trip to Lesvos, Greece, August 2010

To see a list of the birds seen on this trip click here.

This was a trip I made to Lesbos, or Lesvos, an island I had not visited before, with my wife. We had been to Greece  many times, and although we expected this trip to be very warm, it actually proved to be as hot a holiday as we have experienced. The temperature was over 40 degrees Celsius daily and up to 48 degrees most days. This made it quite a challenge to catch up with the bird life of this eastern Greek island.

Many birdwatchers visit in the spring, with fewer making the visit in the autumn. We were based at the Hotel Pasiphae at Skala Kallonis. It is ideally situated to enable a visitor to sample the many different sites on the island for birds.

We hired a car for the week and, using the excellent “A birdwatching guide to Lesvos”, by Steve Dudley, were able to find and explore some of these birdwatching sites.

In spite of the weather, we managed to see over 80 species, which we were very pleased with indeed.

The itinerary we used was as follows:-

Thursday 12th August 2010

Flight from Gatwick on package trip with Thompsons Holidays. Arrive Mytilini early afternoon then transfer to Hotel Pasiphae for b&b for 7 nights. Stroll around the hotel area in late afternoon.

Friday 13th August 2010

Picked up hire car in the early morning. Then drove to west of the island, via Agra and Eresos to Sigri. Trip to the petrified forest and the museum at Sigri. Return by Filia. Then late afternoon trip to the Skala Kalloni salt pans.

Saturday 14th August 2010

Early morning trip to Skala Kallonis salt pans. Then mid morning trip to Achladeri forest. A very hot experience and very little bird activity. No Kruper’s Nuthatches seen. Later another trip to Skala Kallonis salt pans.

Sunday 15th August 2010

Usual pre breakfast trip to Skala Kallonis salt pans. Then drive west as far as Agra in search of Cinereous Bunting. No success. Slow return including visit to the chapel near Skala Kallonis. Late afternoon to Skala Kallonis salt pans.

Monday 16th August 2010

Pre breakfast visit to Achladeri forest. After a brief search I heard two Kruper’s Nuthatches and found them feeding in the tops of the pines, just beyond the whitewashed building. It was 06:45 when I found them. After watching them for 15 minutes, they disappeared and in spite of much searching for another hour, I could not relocate them. After breakfast, a trip to Petra, Molyvos and Efthalou on the north coast. I managed to locate a single Ruppell’s Warbler near the lay by on the coastal road here. Subsequently, a late afternoon trip to the Skala Kallonis salt pans.

Tuesday 17th August 2010

Pre breakfast trip to Agra. There, just at the two towers on the outside of the town, I managed to locate two Cinereous Buntings. I picked them up on their call. Later another morning and evening trip to the salt pans at Skala Kallonis.

Wednesday 18th August 2010

Pre breakfast visit to Skala Kallonis salt pans then to Motochia lake. In the late afternoon another, final trip to Skala Kallonis salt pans.

Thursday 19th August 2010

Morning departure to Mytilini for flight home.

Kevin Elsby