Monday, 24 May 2010

A bits and pieces kind of day in Lesvos

Another pre breakfast walk, and I decided to walk along the beach to Skala Kallonis harbour to take some photos. A Jay hopped along in the trees ahead of me, but never quite near enough for a photo unfortunately. You can see the harbour wall in the distance here.

I'd learnt a few words of Greek just so that I could be polite to any native Lesvosians I came across. Well, when I got to the harbour, there were some crusty old fishermen sat together 'chewing the cud', so I called out what I thought was 'hello' in Greek. I don't know whether my accent was appalling or they just didn't know what to make of me, but I didn't get any response out of any of them! (-: Shame as it made me not want to linger too long. I did manage to take a couple of photos around the harbour before setting off back to the hotel to meet up with my friends and breakfast.

After breakfast we set out to go north today. This photo below as taken in the town of Petra. Jane told me that when she first visited Lesvos many years ago, there were a lot more donkeys being used around the island. We only came across one or two during our weeks stay.
Our first destination was at a place just north of Petra to look for Ruppell's Warbler. While looking for the bird, I was taken with the formation of the rock. Lesvos has a past filled with volcanic activity.
This was the typical type of scrubby habitat that Ruppell's warbler like. After a long wait, we did finally get a view of this elusive bird, no photo though.
The weather was quite overcast and cool on this day and Jane felt that rather than go north, we might do better to try some well known migrations spots further south so we headed for the Potamia valley which is just west of Skala Kallonis. This is a beautiful valley with lovely views all along its length.
We'd seen several Long-legged Buzzards before this one, but this was the first time I'd had a chance and taking some photos. Not brilliant but this is the best one I got. This one was the rufous form with is reddish tail, paler inside.
Our next stop was at a place called Devil's Bridge (I don't know the reason for the name).
We noticed lots of these large black spiders here, so many that it was hard to keep from stepping on many of them! From memory I think they were about 2 inches long (inc legs)! (-:
I don't know what this plant is, but it was incredibly spiny!
There was one of those tiny chapels here which was open so I took a peek inside. It's was very well kept and rather simple and beautiful.
Our final destination of the day (as it was yesterday) was the Kalloni Salt Pans. This place never disappointed any time we were there! These shots aren't pin sharp, but they show the beautiful white wings of the Squacco Heron as it comes in to land.


A bunch of Ruff with a few Wood Sandpipers in amongst them.
Little Terns with their fluttering hovering while hunting for food.
Preparing to dive.
Here's this pretty bad 'record' shot of a male Red-footed Falcon. It was quite a way away and this is heavily cropped.
I had the most fun trying to photograph Whiskered Terns that were hunting close to the track were we were standing.
They were sooooo quick. I must have taken hundreds of shots!
Not many made it past the delete button, but after a while I did get better at trying to follow them with the camera!
These next two photos I like particularly with the beads of water still clinging to their feathers.


Our way back to the hotel took us through the East River ford. There were usually birds feeding here and using the car as a hide, it was possible to get some nice shots. Wood Sandpipers are the most common wader (shorebird) on the island. In southern Britain they are a scarce passage migrant which I don't always get to see every year.

We decided to eat out at a local Taverna in Skala Kallonis on this evening. The menu was wonderfully varied. I wish I'd taken more pictures of the inside and our meal, but maybe next time! The Taverna was right on the beach so after our meal we took a stroll around the harbour (minus the old fishermen)! (-:

A lovely end to another good days birding.

7 comments:

Roy said...

You ended up with some really nice Tern shots Jen.

TonyC said...

Hi Jen, yes, it takes a while to get your eye in with marsh terns doesn't it. Great results though!!

Shelley said...

What a beautiful adventure! Those tern flight photos were fantastic!

Eve said...

The terns are wonderful!! What a bunch of fantastic photos. That spikey plant is cool and big!! Love it. I'm glad you took the night photos too...really neat. Too much to comment on Jenny....LOVE it!!

Rural Rambler said...

Oooo that black spider is kinda creepy! Jen the terns are awesome and I also like the sandpiper and the flowers in the scrubby habitat :) Love the boat and harbor shots!

Jenny said...

I've had such lovely comments from all of you for my Lesvos posts, I just wanted to say a big thank you to you all (including those of you who don't blog and have e-mailed me instead! (-:

Mary said...

Wonderful! I love all the bird shots and reading your posts is like being there with you almost. You saw a lot of wonderful stuff. I'm curious to know more about those little chapels.