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Trip Report Athens March 25-26th
Greece Bird Tours organized a tailor made birding trip around various locations in Athens, for canadian birder Burke Korol, from Toronto. Burke had an extensive life list of 2900 species and was seeking some of the countries specialties. We managed to find about 60-65% of the desired species, only missing some later arrivals.
The first day we started from Oropos Lagoon, were there were plenty of waders, ducks and raptors. We enjoyed 3 Kentish Plovers on the beach, Little Ringed Plovers, Marsh Sandpipers, a few Black-headed Wagtails, and some Cirl Buntings.
|Cirl Bunting at Oropos Lagoon, Athens
We continued at towards Marathon area, and started birdwatching aroung Schinias National Park. A Little Owl was sitting on the road next to the main road, so Burke had very good views and took some nice photos. Other highlights in the marshes were a Spotted Crake, Ferruginous Ducks, Blue Rock Thrush in the surrounding hills, and a few Red-rumped Swallows.
We really wanted to see Sombre Tit, so we headed north, to Grammatiko fields. We managed to have good views of a few birds that we singing between the olive orchards.
|Black-headed Wagtail at Schinias National Park, Athens
We made another stop at Pendeli Mt were we have excellent views of recently arrived Subalpine Warblers. Also, a Raven was soaring around the rocky summits, mobbed by Common Kestrels and Common Buzzards.
|Sombre Tit at Grammatiko, Athens
Our next day started with Kesariani Monastery. Sparrowhawk, Wood Warbler, Coal Tit, Sardinian Warblers and Cirl Bunting were the most interesting sightings. Since Burke was interested in both flora and fauna of Athens, we both loved to see Marginated Tortoises that seemed very active!
|Raven at Pendeli Mt, Athens
We drove up to the summit of Hymettus Mt looking for Rueppell's Warbler. Although it was rather early for their arrival, we saw 3 birds at an altitude of 850m, very close to the top of the mountain. A few Subalpine Warblers were singing from the bushes, along with Sardinian Warblers.
|Marginated Tortoises in Athens
|Rueppell's Warbler in Hymettus Mt, Athens
Our last location for the bird trip was Vravrona Estuary, east from Athens International Airport. We were lucky to see numerous flocks of Yelkouan Shearwaters, a total of about 200 birds. Together with them, we also saw 3 Cory's Shearwaters and a Shag, all being lifers for Burke! Close to the paved little bridge of Erasinos stream, we had a Little Crake, chased by two Water Rails.
|Little Crake at Vravrona, Athens
Our last stop next to the archeological site of Artemis Temple, did not bring us Penduline Tit that we were looking for, but a very curious and rather tame Stoat that responding to our pishing sounds!
|A very friendly Stoat at Vravrona, Athens
Here's is the Bird List (87 species )for the two days birding around Athens
Great Crested Grebe
Great White Egret
Little Ringed Plover
Blue Rock Thrush