Athens winter Birding Tour: Feb 11th

Trip Report: Athens birdwatching tour, Feb 11th 2023

Birdwatching around Athens is still exciting in winter. Especially a few days after a heavy snow storm, the lagoons are full of ducks, flamingos and herons. 

Mute Swan and Flamingos at Oropos Lagoon
Mute Swan and Flamingos
at Oropos Lagoon, Athens

Luis Vidal is an avid birder and bird guide of the Peruvian avifauna. We often visits Greece, so after last years' spring bird tour around Athens, we organized a winter tour, with targets most of the species that overwinter in southern Greece

Our main destination was Oropos Lagoon. The first bird we saw was an impressive Sparrowhawk that was perching motionless right across the town center. This bird of prey is often seen hunting around buildings for small passerines. Indeed, the whole are was full of Black Redstarts, White Wagtails, Meadow Pipit and Chaffinches. 

Sparrowhawk patroling the area
Sparrowhawk patroling the area

Matthiola tricuspidata GREECE BIRD TOURS
Three-horned Stock (Matthiola tricuspidata)
A native halophyte to the shores of Medeterranean,
found in coastal dune grassland

At our first stop after the small harbor, we saw dozens of Hooded Crows, Black-headed Gulls, Little Egrets and Great Cormorants. In the Tamarisks beside the beach, is was easy to spot flocks of Chaffinches, several Kestrels as well as a few Chiffchafs. 

We started to approach the main area of the Lagoon. Crested Larks were chasing eachother in the parking areas, playing hide and seak between the widespread glasswort. Suddenly, two gulls landed in front of us, medium size ones. They were Slender-billed Gulls, a very delicate and not so elusive species of gull. Dozens of Grey Herons, Great White Egrets and Little Egrets were all over the place, together with striking pink colored Flamingos. Several species of ducks were also recorded and photographed, like Green-winged Teal, Pintail, Mallard, Wigeon. 
Crested Lark
Crested Lark

Playfull Flamingos at Oropos Lagoon

Then we moved on to the more shallow part of the lagoon, to the shorebird area. The species we observed were numerous: Redshank, Grey Plover, Little Plover, Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Eurasian Curlew. Two Marsh Harriers, a couple of Common Buzzards, one more Sparrowhawk and several Eurasian Kestrels were the raptors we saw around the lagoons. 

Chaffinch on a branch of an Almond tree

After spending more than 3 hours at the wetland, we decided to head up to the mountains, to see some winter specialties. We headed to Avlona, a small village with impressive rock formations, where we heard (but sadly could not see) the loud calls of the breeding Rock Nuthatches. Three Ravens were soaring over our heads, screaming while gliding. A nice male Firecrest gave us a few seconds of brief views, together with Eurasian Robin, Stonechats, Greenfinches, Goldfinches. The whole are was full of snow, while the temperature was just above freezing point. 

The ferry from Oropos to Eretria
and the snowcapped mountains of Evia Island

Bird list for February 11th 2023, birding around Athens

Mute Swan
Northern Shoveler
Eurasian Wigeon
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Greater Flamingo
Feral Pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
Eurasian Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Kentish Plover
Common Ringed Plover
Eurasian Curlew
Common Redshank
Slender-billed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Sandwich Tern
Gray Heron
Great White Egret
Little Egret
Eurasian Marsh Harrier
Common Buzzard
Eurasian Kestrel
Eurasian Jay
Eurasian Magpie
Common Raven
Hooded Crow
Great Tit
Crested Lark
Common Chiffchaff
Sardinian Warbler
European Robin
Black Redstart
Eurasian Blackbird
European Stonechat
House Sparrow
White Wagtail
Meadow Pipit
Water Pipit
Common Chaffinch
European Serin
European Greenfinch