Half day birding in Schinias National Park - April 28th 2022

Today, we guided Lucho Vidal, an avid birder and wildlife photographer from Lima (Peru) who had a few hours available for afternoon birdwatching around the city. Lucho is a tour guide in Peru, also enjoying bird photography, so he managed to get these awesome bird pics and he is happy to share them with us. Schinias National Park is the ideal birding destination for spring birding around Athens. 

Black Headed Bunting at Schinias National Park
Black headed Buntings was the highlight of our tour

A few hundred meters before the Olympic Rowing Center, we saw our first raptor, a nice Long-legged Buzzard, flying together with Pallid and Common Swifts.

Long legged Buzzard mobbed by Common Swifts
Long-legged Buzzard mobbed by Common Swifts

                                 Common Kestrel on wire
                                        Common Kestrel on wire

We started from the east part of the wetland, where there is still some water ponds. A small group of Garganey was the first species we encountered, followed by Little Ringed Plover, Dunlins, Wood Sandpipers, Ruff and 2 elegant Black-winged Stilts. A few Kestrels were seen in the surrounding hills, as well as Common Buzzards. Ath the nearby fig orchard we saw a Turtle Dove sitting on a wire together with a Collared Dove, so that was a good chance to compare the two species.

Turtle Dove at Schinias National Park
Turtle Dove at Schinias National Park

Wood Sandpipers were everywhere today
Wood Sandpipers were everywhere today

We drove up the quary and had short views of a Raven which is not common in the area and a nearby Northern Wheatear perching on a fence. A couple of Cirl Bunting were heard, but surprisingly we could not see one. 

Ferruginous Ducks breed at Schinias National Park
Ferruginous Ducks breed at Schinias National Park

Then we headed north, to the plateau of Ramnous. Breeding Woodchat Shrikes gave us some great photographic moments, along with Goldfinch, Hooded Crows, Barn Swallows, Red-rumped Swallows. 

Woodchat Shrike perching, looking for prey
Woodchat Shrike perching, looking for prey

Out os a sudden we heard a flock of Bee-eaters from far away. it didn't take us long to find them with binoculars and tried to approach them. After a few minutes of hiking between stones and bushes, we managed to get some excellent views of this colorful birds, a migrating group of around 50 birds that were sitting on electricity wires and flying around. 

Bee-eaters flock at Ramnous
Bee-eaters flock at Ramnous

The excitement continued, since after a few minutes we met 5 Black-headed Buntings perching motionless on a bush jet beside the road. These birds overwinter in India and come to this area every year to breed. So these were the first ones we saw for this season.

Getting back to the wetland, a Red Fox crossed our way, seeming rather curious, so its slow moves gave us a few photographic opportunities. A few breeding Ferruginous Ducks and some Mallards were among the last species we saw in the wetland.

Male Garganey at a small pond in Schinias
Male Garganey at a small pond in Schinias
Black-winged Stilt is a very elegant looking bird
Black-winged Stilt is a very elegant looking bird

The sun was about to set, so this was a great time to search for nocturnal birds. Indeed we saw the first Little Owl on a roof of a house at Kato Souli, and then later on at the abandoned houses close to Makaria Spring. The second bird was perching at the edge of a stone wall, having huge cypresses as backround, so it provided very nice pictures, the best way to end a spring birding day around Schinias National Park

Overall, we saw 44 species of birds, plus a bonus mammal, a Red Fox.
A long Eastern Montpellier Snake was found crushed from a vehicle at the east part of the marshes.


Happy birders hit the road, after a succesful birdwatching day

 

BIRD LIST

Little Egret
Squacco Heron
Ferruginous Duck

Mallard
Garganey

Long-legged Buzzard

Common Buzzard
Kestrel

Coot

Black-winged Stilt
Little Ringed Plover
Dunlin
Wood Sandpiper
Ruff
Greenshank

Snipe
Yellow-legged Gull
Collared Dove

Turtle Dove

Feral Pigeon
Little Owl

Crested Lark
Common Swift
Pallid Swift
Red-rumped Swallow
Barn Swallow

Whinchat
Northern Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

Bee-eater

Sedge Warbler

Cetti’s Warbler (heard)
Sardinian Warbler

Woodchat Shrike
Magpie
Hooded Crow

Raven
House Sparrow
Goldfinch
Greenfinch

Corn Bunting

Cirl Bunting 

Black-headed Bunting