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Trip Report Athens March 16th 2018

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16/04/2018
Trip Report Athens March 16th 2018

Matthias came from Germany and wanted to spend a day birding with Greece Bird Tours around Athens. Picking him up from the airport at 10.30 was not a problem for us; our first stop was Markopoulo Fields and Vravrona Wetland, where ww found hundreds of finches (Serins, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Greenfinches etc), Corn Buntings and a new species for Matthias: the Cirl Bunting.

Male Cirl Bunting
We also heard a male Quail singing that was literally next to our car but could not see it because of the tall grass. Flocks of Barn Swallows were passing overhead but at the same time lots of winter visitors like the Great Egret and the Teal were still around. 
 
We headed north for Artemis Lagoon and the situation there was similar; the first Black-winged Stilt had arrived and at the same time overwintering Shovelers were present. 
 
Black-winged Stilt
Next stop was Spata Fields, a site that is known to hold Great Spotted Cuckoos in spring. We found one after a while, along with a few Hoopoes! 
 
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Leaving Spata, we headed for Mt Hymettus. First stop on the mountain was the scrubby area close to the peak, ideal place for warblers and especially for the Ruppell's and the Subalpine. We saw both birds and quickly descended to the Aesthetic Forest of Kaisariani to look for the Firecrest, another lifer for Matthias. The quest for that crest lasted for only a few minutes as a male birds showed up very quickly!
 
Last stop for the day was the area of Kareas on the central part of the mountain; the best place to look for the Chukar and the Rock Nuthatch that is still recovering from the wildfire of 2015. 
 
Chukar
We found both species right before dusk and started walking down the mountain listening to a Scops Owl. and two Little Owls...
 
By the time of the trip we had seen and heard 52 species, a great number considering it was not a full day! Here is Matthias' testimonials
 
Another happy birder
 
 
TRIP CHECKLIST

Northern Shoveler - Spatula clypeata
Green-winged Teal - Anas crecca
Common Quail - Coturnix coturnix
Chukar - Alectoris chukar
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo
Great Egret - Ardea alba
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
Water Rail - Rallus aquaticus
Eurasian Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Ruff - Calidris pugnax
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Great Spotted Cuckoo - Clamator glandarius
European Scops-Owl - Otus scops
Little Owl - Athene noctua
Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops
Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Great Tit - Parus major
Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer
Firecrest - Regulus ignicapilla
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Common Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus collybita
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Eurasian Blackcap - Sylvia atricapilla
Rüppell's Warbler - Sylvia ruppeli
Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
European Robin - Erithacus rubecula
Blue Rock-Thrush - Monticola solitarius
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Song Thrush - Turdus philomelos
Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava
Meadow Pipit - Anthus pratensis
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
Corn Bunting - Emberiza calandra
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
Hawfinch - Coccothraustes coccothraustes
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
Eurasian Linnet - Linaria cannabina
European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
European Serin - Serinus serinus
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus


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