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Trip report Athens, Mt Parnassos Oct 6-7th

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06/10/2018
Trip report Athens, Mt Parnassos Oct 6-7th

On this birdinf trip we had the honor and pleasure to guide Mrs  J.Dubi, Executive officer in Sarasota Audubon Society, Florida.

On this trip we had the opportunity to visit different habitats the 1st day around Athens area and the 2nd day on Parnassos mtn.

This time of the year most of the migrants have already gone and most winter ones have not arrived yet.

Nevertheless, we manage to see 65 species.


Our day started very well seeing a very confiding Scops Owl in Lykavittos Hill. From the same spot we were hearing the characteristic call of Alpine Swifts (breeding in Lykavittos) and decided to wait until the sunrise to see them.

Very few Alpine Swifts can be seen at this time of the year but in Lykavittos Hill remain little more up to middle of October, so that could have been the only chance seeing them. Unfortunately, when the light was enough to see them they have already gone. We decided to give it another try late evening when they supposedly will return to roost.

Next stop was at Kesariani Monastery in the foothills of Imittos Mt. Our try to spot the Red-breasted Flycatcher failed as this beautiful must have been gone. That day was very windy, so the activity was low. Some of the species we saw and heard were Robin, Willow Warbler, Firecrest, Jay, Tawny Owl etc.

Our next stop was at Oropos Lagoon north-east of Athens. Our target species was the Slender-billed Gull and the Garganey. After some extensive search among a few dozen Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls we managed to see a 1st winter Slender-billed.  Garganey proved to be easier as 4 individuals were flying above our heads for some time giving us enough time to see the key characteristics of this species. Some other species we saw were: Kentish Plover, Redshank, Grey Wagtail, Sanderling, Crested Lark, Red-Backed Shrike etc.

It was time to move on for our next destination. Schinias NP includes a wetland, a coastal pine forest, a freshwater spring, a peninsula, a hill and a magnificent bay and is the most important coastal ecosystem of Attica and belongs to the Natura 2000 network. The Park also includes the Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Center. Our target species were: Sombre Tit, Ferruginus Duck, (Eurasian) Reed Warbler and (Eurasian) Penduline Tit.

We had stunning views of both Sombre Tit and Ferruginus Duck. Reed warbler was difficult to find as most of them already migrated south, but we finally managed to see one hoping around in the tamarisk trees. Last target was the Penduline Tit but this one proved to be elusive.

Some other species were: Little Grebe, Cirl Bunting, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Crested Lark Etc.

Last stop for the day was Lykavittos Hill again for Alpine Swifts. We reached the area a little while after sunset and a flock of about 40 Alpine Swifts were flying low above our heads. Another lifer for Jeanne and what a great ending of a very successful day.


Next morning we started very early for the 2 ½  hour drive to Parnassos mtn. On the way we stopped at

Kopaida plains a very productive area all year round. Some of the species seen there were: Syrian Woodpecker, Common Buzzard, Crested Lark, Cetti’s Warbler, Kestrel, Jackdaw etc.

On the way to Mt Parnassos we did a 15min drive deviation to visit the ancient site of Delphi. There we had great time seeing the famous archaeological site and had some birding also. Here Jeanne had another lifer from a very closed distance: Western Rock Nuthatch. Other species were: Crag Martin, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Great Tit, Chaffinch etc.

We left Delphi and headed in higher elevation in search of woodpeckers. That proved to be a difficult task, but we finally managed to see Black Woodpecker another lifer for Jeanne. We were lucky enough to see a second individual standing on top of a tree in clear view and short distance!! On a tree nearby was a Red Squirrel (in Greece looks more black than red). We then head to the alpine zone to search for Alpine Choughs. Unfortunately, we had no luck with them even we tried hard for 2-3 hours.

Some other species were: Rock Bunting, Black Redstart, Wood Warbler, Northern Wheatear etc.

We ended this trip having a wonderful dinner with local food at a taverna in Tithorea which is located at the north-east hillsides of Parnassos.

Total birds seen: 65

Here is the complete bird list

Mallard

Garganey

Ferruginous Duck

Little Grebe

(Great) Cormorant

(European) Shag

Little Egret

Great Egret

Grey Heron

Common Buzzard

(Common) Kestrel

Peregrine Falcon

(Common) Moorhen

Coot

Kentish Plover

Grey (Black-bellied) Plover

Ruff

Sanderling

(Common) Redshank

(Common) Greenshank

Black-headed Gull

Slender-billed Gull

Mediterranean Gull

Yellow-legged Gull

Sandwich Tern

Rock Dove (wild)

Collared Dove

Tawny Owl

(Eurasian) Scops Owl

(Common) Swift

Alpine Swift

(Common) Kingfisher

Black Woodpecker

Syrian Woodpecker

Crested Lark

(Eurasian) Crag Martin

Barn Swallow

Grey Wagtail

(European) Robin

Black Redstart

(Common) Stonechat

(Common) Blackbird

(Northern) Wheatear

Sardinian Warbler

Cetti's Warbler

(European) Reed Warbler

Willow Warbler

Wood Warbler

Firecrest

Spotted Flycatcher

Great Tit

Coal Tit

Sombre Tit

(Western) Rock Nuthatch

(Eurasian) Nuthatch

Red-backed Shrike

Magpie

(Eurasian) Jay

(Western) Jackdaw

Hooded Crow

(Common) Starling

House Sparrow

(Eurasian) Tree Sparrow

(Common) Chaffinch

(Common) Linnet

Cirl Bunting

Rock Bunting

 


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