Bird tour in Athens, March 25th

Bird tour in Athens, March 25th 2023

We recently hosted a couple of Sri Lanka birders and nature enthousiasts that wanted to observe wildlife around Athens, with focus on birds and wild flora. So we organized a tailor made birding tour to meet their needs, including lunch at a local traditional taverna.

Birdwatching at Vravrona
Birdwatching at Vravrona, looking for Cetti's Warbler

After our meeting at an Athens Metro Station, we headed east and firstly visited Schinias National Park. Out of the blue, the first two birds we saw were a couple of Great Spotted Cuckoos as the flew over northern fields area. They stopped for a few second on the blooming Tamarisks, and continued their flight, shouting with their characteristic variable loud calls. What a start!

In these fields we observed the first finches, such as Goldfiches and Greenfinches. We also heard the first Zitting Cisticolas, a bird that we would meet in most locations of our trip. 

By end of March, a lot of wild orchids are blooming in eastern Attica, so we photographed several species of this unique family of plants

Ophrys sicula
Lesser Yellow bee orchid, O
phrys sicula

Horse-shoe Orchid (Oprhys ferrum-equinum)
Horse-shoe Orchid (Ophrys ferrum-equinum)

Moving towards the main wetland area, lots of different waders were seen. Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits, elegant Marsh Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers, Common Snipes and Wood Sandpipers. A few times, Hoopoes were flying next to us, but sadly we could get some good views of the birds foraging on the ground. Our visitors have seen this species in Sri Lanka many times already, however no one gets enough of this striking species.

At the Olympic Rowing Centre were had the chance to enjoy the emblematic Ferruginous Duck that are succesfully breeding in the area. As for raptors, we saw Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Common Buzzard and Marsh Harriers. 

Some more orchid species

Ophrys aesculapi
Aesculapi's Early Spider Orchid, Ophrys aesculapi

Ophrys tenthredinifera
Sawfly Orchid, Ophrys tenthredinifera

Rowing at Schinias

We moved to Rafina Port, were we had a traditional light brunch at a local grill taverna, authentic gyros with greek salad. Rafina stream was close by, so we walked until the river mouth, while watching Water Rails, Little Ringed Plovers, Black-headed Wagtails and listening to the characteristic loud voice of Cetti's Warbler

Heading south at Spata fields, we had the chance to compare migrating Lesser Kestrel with resident Common Kestrels. A Little Owl was also seen, but very briefly.

Our last stop for the day was Vravrona wetland. There, at the Temple of Artemis, a couple of Little Owl were enjoying the last daylight. We managed to take a few photos from our mobile phones, throught the spotting scope

Little Owl at Vravrona
A pair of Little Owls at Artemis Temple
at Vravrona

Photographic wild orchids
Photographic wild orchids

Bumble bee Orchid (Oprhys bombyliflora)
Bumble bee Orchid (Oprhys bombyliflora)

Serapias bergoni
Serapias bergoni

The complete bird list for March 25th, 2023

Ferruginous Duck
Feral Pigeon
Eurasian Jay
Collared Dove
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Water Rail
Black-winged Stilt
Black-tailed Godwit
Marsh Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper
Common Snipe
Little Ringer Plover
Black-headed Gull
Mediterranean Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Marsh Harrier
Common Buzzard
Lesser Kestrel
Common Kestrel
Hooded Crow
Zitting Cisticola
Barn Swallow
Sardinian Warbler
House Sparrow
Black-headed Wagtail
Meadow Pipit
Tree Pipit
Corn Bunting

Spyros Skareas
Bird Guide and Certified Tour Leader
Athens, GREECE

All sightings available at my eBird profile