Summer birding in Athens: July 15th 2022

Birding around Athens in the heart of summer is not an easy task. You either have to start before sunrise or late in the afternoon, when temperatures are cooling down and birds are more active.

This was the case on July 15th, a very warm sunny day, when we had 38 degrees Celsius at noon. So we have decided from the previous day to run a half day tour very early in the morning and get the birds in full action. This is the best time for bird photography, as the golden hour is always appreciated for its unique colours.

Sunrise in Artemis Lagoon, Athens
Sunrise in Artemis Lagoon, Athens
The siluette of a Black-winged Stilt

We decided to spend time at Artemis Lagoon, a small wetland at the east part of Athens Riviera. This place offers excellent birding opportunities in July and August, since it holds a significant amount of water when most wetlands nearby are dry 

We arrived just before sunrise and the hirundines were all there. Lots of House Martins, Red-rumped Swallows, Barn Swallows were flying over our heads, the noisy Alpine Swifts, Common and Pallid Swifts. 

Two Little Ringed Plovers were at a small islet of the lagoon. Nearby, 3 Black-winged Stilts, some Wood Sandpipers and a Common Sandpiper. 

3 Hoopoes flew from the reeds towards the sea, probably migrating birds. A Grey Heron, together with 2 Little Egrets we perching on the eucalyptus tress, at the northern part of the lagoon.

Grey Heron and the Moon
Grey Heron and the Moon

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly a striking Whiskered Tern. We are able to enjoy the flying style, the feeding techniques and the general behaviour of this beautiful species of tern.

Whiskered Tern diving for aquatic insects
Whiskered Tern diving for aquatic insects

The magnificent flight of a Whiskered Tern
The magnificent flight of a Whiskered Tern

 As it was very early and the sun had not risen yet, we decided to try a special technique in burd photography, called Low Key. The idea is to underexpose the subject in front of a dark backround, so that only the silhouette of the bird is highlighted. We managed to get a few hundreds of shots, these are only some of the best.

Whiskered Tern in flight, BW pic
Whiskered Tern in flight,
black & white bird photography

Low Key bird photography

The bird list of this guided bird trip in Artemis Lagoon is the following:

Little Grebe

Great Cormorant

Grey Heron

Little Egret




Black -winged Stilt

Wood Sandpiper

Little Ringed Plover

Alpine Swift 

Pallid Swift

Common Swift

Red-rumped Swallow

Barn Swallow

House Martin 



Hooded Crow

Zitting Cisticola 

Yellow legged Gull

Whiskered Tern

Sardinian Warbler

Cetti's Warbler

House Sparrow