Birding in Athens, June 25th 2022

Urban birdwatching: Athens is birding capital of Europe, with several easy-accessed locations for exciting birding, all year long

Seva, the enthusiastic birder from Russia who birded with us on June 12th, returned for a second guided bird tour around Athens, so we tried to combine different habitats in a short available time.

Night Heron at Tritsis Park, Athens
Night Heron at Tritsis Park, Athens

There were a few lifers left to see before he got back home. One of them was the Scops Owl so we had to start before dawn (at 05.00). 
We reached Mt Hymettus and in a few minutes a beautiful Scops Owl was photographed by Seva. At the same time, a Nightjar was flying low, very close to us! 

Scops Owl during Birding Athens trip
Scops Owl during Athens Birding trip

We moved to another part of Mt Hymettus but first we had ourselves some coffee and breakfast and another lifer showed up: the House Finch. Two males of this recently introduced finch were singing from TV aerials. Other species seen around were Common and Alpine Swift and Spotted Flycatcher. Returning to Mt Hymettus, looking for Short-toed Treecreepers and Firecrests: both were enjoyed and photographed. The birding day has just started!

Firecrest during Birding Athens trip
Firecrest at Mt Hymettus

We also visited the peak of the mountain and found one nice Chukar (another lifer). With that rate of success, we continued our trip and drove to Schinias National Park to look for Ferruginous Ducks. We didn't see one but a whole group of 16 of them! 

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

At that point, Seva mentioned that another lifer he forgot to mention earlier was the Night Heron. That's why we left Schinias and drove back to Athens and more specifically to Antonis Tritsis Metropolitan Park. A small colony of Night Herons was created this year so it was really easy to see adult birds and juveniles. A femlale Little Bittern was another very interesting sighting in the park. 

Night Heron at Tritsis Park, Athens
Night Heron at Tritsis Park, Athens

We saw all the lifers (plus one) that Seva wanted for this trip and by 13:00 we were already back at his hotel in the center of Athens. A huge success for this custom birding trip, given the date and the high temperatures of the day! 

Tired birders but so happy! 

The full bird list for Athens half-day birding trip,  June 25th, 2022

Ferruginous Duck
Little Grebe
Collared Dove
European Nightjar
Alpine Swift
Common Swift
Pallid Swift
Water Rail
Black-winged Stilt
Green Sandpiper
Yellow-legged Gull
Little Bittern
Grey Heron
Night Heron
Scops Owl
Little Owl
Common Kestrel
Alexandrine Parakeet
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Hooded Crow
Coal Tit
Great Tit
Zitting Zisticola
Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Barn Swallow
Cetti's Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Short-toed Treecreeper
Spotted Flycatcher
House Sparrow
House Finch