Firstly a Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) was present in one of the famous pools early this morning along with a super looking Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and the first Little ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) of the year. Additionally, in the nearby sandy area by the pools 4 Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) were seen happily bobbing around the site along with a drop dead gorgeous feldegg type Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava feldegg) and 2 Greater Short-toed Larks (Calandrella brachydractyla)! Crackin eh? But that’s not all! At the old bridge the first Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)of the year was seen as well as a cracking Little Crake (Porzana parva) sulking suspiciously through the reeds. And to top it all off a Hoopoe (Upupa epops) flew over head whilst i was counting the calling Cetti’s!
Bird news from Alyki today: 702 Mediterranean Gulls (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) were present on the old salt lake around 10:00 this morning! What a sight it was!
Birds of note in and around the Potokaki/Glyfada area include: 2 GREEN SANDPIPER (Actitis ochropus) both of which were feeding in the flooded dirt track running adjacent to the famous pools. Also nearby 3 GOLDEN PLOVER (Pluvialis apricaria) were seen running around the sandy wasteland just past the old bridge! Furthermore, in the Airport pools a wonderful WATER PIPIT (Anthus spinoletta) was spotted seemingly loving life as it bobbed in and out of the pools in a rather excitable fashion and to my unimaginable pleasure, a MOUSTACHED WARBLER (Acrocephalus melanopogon) was present within the reed lined channel by the old metal bridge. I saw one!!! I finally saw one!!!
Despite the rather drab and cloud cloaked start to the morning, my hopes were high for some new migrants moving through the Mesokampos. Moreover the mornings titillation transcended further post caffeine fix as I did not leave the Archipelagos base alone but instead with the delightful company of the entire Terrestrial Team! Yes that’s right, they all managed to get out of their beds in time for the early morning survey! I am one very proud supervisor! Oh and what a reward they got for their incentive.
Today seen me once again on board Archipelagos’s beloved survey vessel Nireas, as I tried my best to provide the Institutes Marine Mammal team with an insight into the identification of some of the seabirds which can be found in the NE Aegean. We set off a bit later which at first we were a tad upset about (less time on the boat) but luckily for us it was actually perfect as within the hour of departing the marina we were treated to a spectacular and unforgettable encounter with a pod of 15+ Short-beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis). We first caught glimpse of the pod due to a very noisy and active group of around 80+ Yellow legged Gulls (Larus michahellis) and 35 lovely Yelkies (Puffinus yelkouan), which were tailing, circling and plunging in and around the actively feeding Cetaceans. Continue reading
Excitement had gathered since yesterdays arrival of House Martins to Alyki which unsurprisingly left me feeling rather restless for the remaining duration of Tuesday. There I sat pondering near continously about what other special spring birds had already made their way to super Samos, in my absence from the field (a dilemma I’m sure all you readers feel yourself upon the arrival of spring!). My alarm clock barely got a beep in before I was up, on the bike and on my way to the reeds! Continue reading
Armies of Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) are once again fluttering angelically through the wafts of fresh Almond bloom scent; Levant Water Frogs (Pelophylax bedriagae) have awakened from their winter slumber and are now practicing their comical croaks for the breeding season and the warming song of Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Blackcap and Corn Bunting now seemingly engross every scrub and bush in the Mesokampos bay. Spring seems to have finally arrived and what an entrance it has made!
Waterbirds present on the old salt lake today include: A cracking congregation of 91 Yellow Legged Gulls (Larus michahellis), a lone Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), 3 marvelous adult Mediterranean Gulls (Larus melanocephalus), a glorious gathering of 38 Coot (Fulica atra), 22 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), 2 Teal (Anas crecca), 7 Shoveler (Anas clypeata), the lone Wigeon (Anas Penelope), 5 Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) , 96 Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus), just 1 Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) and the beautiful Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) again, scooting about the lake with the Coot cohort. Continue reading
Birds in and around the Mesokampos marsh include: 6 fly-over Yellow-legged Gulls (Larus michahellis) of varying age, a lone Hooded Crow (Corvus corone cornix), 5 ‘Black-capped’ Jay (Garrulus glandarius samios), 1 Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocta), a noisy Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus), a number of Chukar (Alectoris chukar) creating a ruckus in the hills behind the marsh, 5 Crested Lark (Galerida cristata), 2 Blackbird (Turdus merula), 23 Song Thrush , 6 White Wagtails (Motacilla alba), 2 Stonechat (Saxicola torquata), 5 European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), a single Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros), 12+ Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), 19+ Blackcap Warbler (Sylvia atricapilla), 4 Fan-tailed Warbler (Cisticola juncidis), 11+ Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala), 2 Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita), 4 boisterous Cetti’s (Cettia cetti), 28+ Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), 3 Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), 2 Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris), a stunning Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) and a gorgeous fly-over Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo).