Bird Trip Report: Athens Oct 23rd

Bird Trip Report: Athens Oct 23rd

A typical October day birding around the city of Athens. The weather was warm and sunny, a great opportunity to enjoy resident species, combining a variety of habitats.

Roniq Bartenen, bird guide and photographer in Seattle WA, has travelled the world for birdwatching and bird photography. She run shebirds.com offering bird tours in Northwest US with her passion for birds and nature. Through her website, he encourages female bird guides from allover the word.
Roniq had a few days layover in Athens, so we organized a tailored made bird trip around the city, aiming to see as many species as possible, keeping a comfortable pace and enjoying all forms of nature.

Our meeting point was Metro Station Katehaki, and we headed up to Mt Hymettus, hoping to see Scops Owl just before the first sun light. We might have been a little late, or just unlucky, since we couldn't even listen to the bird, even though we were at the right breeding location. A few Robins, Magpies and Eurasian Jays could be heard and hardly seen.

We decided to visit the nearby Kesariani Aestetic Forest, so we drove up to Kesariani Monastery. Luckily, Tawny Owl was there, we managed to get a few sights of the birds which was mobbed by Jays and Magpies and was very shy. During our walk aroung the old monastery we had Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blackbirds, Chiffachafs.

Olive orchard at Kesariani Forest
Olive orchard at Kesariani Aesthetic Forest
(photo Roniq Bartanen)

Walking towards the olive orchards we could listen to a very distinctive call: the loud Cirl Bunting was singing! We had great views with binoculars and a few pics through the spotting scope. Several Chaffinches were flying around the olive trees too.

Birdwatching at Mt Hymettus
Birdwatching at Mt Hymettus
(photo Roniq Bartanen)

Cirl Bunting
Cirl Bunting singing from a Cypress tree
(photo Roniq Bartanen)

Kesariani Monastery
Kesariani Monastery (photo Roniq Bartanen)

Our next stop was Oropos Lagoon, at the northeast coast of Attica. This small lagoon is vital for migratory birds, since it is one of the few areas that doesn't dry our during the hot mediterranean summer. Some of the most striking birds can be seen during October, such as Greater Flamingos, dozens of Grey Herons, Great White Egrets, Little Egrets, Spoonbills. 


Mediterranean Gull
Mediterranean Gull digiscoped at Oropos Lagoon
(photo Roniq Bartanen)

Seaside of Oropos Lagoon
Seaside of Oropos Lagoon
(photo Roniq Bartanen)

Sandwich Terns resting at Oropos Lagoon
Sandwich Terns resting at Oropos Lagoon
(photo Roniq Bartanen)

This is also the best place to see several species of gulls from a short range. From the rare Slender-billed Gull to the Black-headed, Mediterranean and Yellow-legged Gulls. Sandwich Tern can also be found between the gulls. Walking along the beach, it was easy to encounter the breeding Kentish Plovers, a small and motionless species of shorebird. 

Overall, we saw several different species of birds, here is the full bird list of the day

Mallard
Green-winged Teal
Greater Flamingo
Feral Pigeon
Collared Dove
Grey Plover
Kentish Plover
Common Ringed Plover
Bar-tailed Godwit
Dunlin
Little Stint
Greenshank
Redshank
Slender-billed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Mediterranean Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Great Cormorant
Shag
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Great White Heron
Spoonbill
Sparrowhawk
Common Buzzard
Common Kestrel
Tawny Owl
Common Kingfisher
Eurarian Jay
Magpie
Hooded Crow
Coal Tit
Great Tit
Wood Lark
Crested Lark
Zitting Cisticola
Crested Lark
Chiffchaff
Cetti's Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Blackcap
Eurosian Blackbird
European Robin
European Stonechat
House Sparrow
Yellow Wagtail
White Wagtail
Chaffinch
Cirl Bunting