PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REPORT FROM
MAINLAND GREECE NOT CRETE
TORTOISES AND TERNS
PELOPONNESE AND WEST COAST GREECE
3rd -14th May 2009
Continuing from the Antikythira report, with our trip taking in several wetlands on the way north to Igoumenitsa where we will take the ferry to Ancona in Italy.
Calling at Gialova, a lagoon on the lower west coast of the Peloponnese the only site in Europe where African Chameleons breed. A Natura 2000 site with extensive reedbeds with nature trails and a couple of hides, along with an information centre in the old pumping station that was not open at the time of our visit.
Kaiafa Lake near Zacharo
A stopover at Ancient Olympia, to visit the museum.
Kotichi Lake on the coast midway between Patras and Pirgos. A saltwater lagoon
Kalogria and Strofilia Forest a little north of Kotichi lake and 30km from Patras…….A large lake and forest area.
From the Peleponnese we travel northwest over the Rio Bridge visiting…
Messolongi……… lagoons to the south and west of the town
Amvrakikos Gulf …taking in Rodia Lagoon, Logarou Lagoon.
We then head north to Igoumenitsa and continue our trip through Italy.
We are awake early at Gythio port ready to head off SW towards Areopoli then NNW for Kalamata, then west to Pilos and Gialova Lagoon.
On the road at 8am, on route we spot ……
Barn Swallow Blackbird House Martin
Yellow-legged Gull House Sparrow Swift
Magpie Collared Dove
In a ravine we stop to look for other species and add ….
Alpine Swift Long Tailed Tit Jay
Great Tit Cetti’s Warbler Chaffinch
Crag Martin Blue Rock Thrush Kestrel
Further along the way a little north of Areopoli we catch sight of two raptors, fantastic, a pair of Short-toed Eagles hunting over a section of hairpins that allow us to get some close views before one peels off and crosses Limeni Bay leaving the other to slowly work its way south.
We add a few Common Buzzard along the route before we enter the site at Gialova.
Here we park up and have an excellent afternoons birding…
Red-rumped Swallow Bee-eater Great Egret
Greenfinch Hooded Crow Little Egret
Squacco Heron Olive Tree Warbler Grey Heron
Little Tern Glossy Ibis 5 Yellow Wagtail
Marsh Harrier Mute Swan Greenshank
Common Sandpiper Curlew Sandpiper Green Sandpiper
Little Stint Whinchat Spotted Flycatcher
Golden Oriole Stonechat Sardinian Warbler
Crested lark Cormorant Turnstone
Ringed Plover Little Ringed Plover Kentish Plover
Corn Bunting Wood Sandpiper Ortolan
A ring tailed Harrier spotted briefly in the distance was either Montagu’s or Pallid.
We met up with a keyholder here for the nature information centre who told us that it would be OK for us to park by the centre for the night which was a great boon for us as we would be right in the centre of the park area and ready for a really early start the next morning.
Some of the wild flowers seen on route……
After some rain in the night we were out before the sun was up…we took a walk along the nature trail which took in salt flats, a beach area where Chameleons are to be found, we never spotted one !! grass and meadow areas.
Beware if visiting the walk near the information centre the walkway that juts out onto the lagoon is very unsafe the boards are totally rotted away in places, also a hide was in a very dilapidated state with the interior trashed and rubbish strewn, we were to find the same situation in other areas visited, a shame as they are beautiful places but the facilities have little or no maintenance. The hide itself is out in the open, with no screening, on our way to it we were out in the open and by the time we got to the door all the birds in the vicinity had seen us and moved further away.
Species here ….
Hooded Crow Sardinian Warbler Yellow-legged Gull
Cetti’s Warbler Goldfinch Little Egret
Barn Swallow Greenfinch Common Sandpiper
35+Black-winged Stilt Little Stint 50+ Curlew Sandpiper 30+
Ringed Plover 8 Little Ringed Plover 2 Bee-eater 1
Mallard Honey Buzzard 1 Glossy Ibis 1
Mute Swan Yellow Wagtail Raven
Corn Bunting Magpie Spotted Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher Chiffchaff Crested Lark
Grey Heron Whinchat House Sparrow
Reed Warbler Zitting Cisticola Redshank 1
White Wagtail White Stork 1 Great Egret 1
Cormorant Coot Wood Sandpiper
Greenshank Collared Dove Turnstone
Whilst at the watch tower a Marsh Harrier flew low over the Black-winged stilts making at least 20 noisily give chase.
We reluctantly left this great area and headed north, adding….
Raven Common Buzzard Chaffinch
Booted Eagle dm Starling Kestrel
Turtle Dove Hoopoe Red-rumped Swallow
Great Tit Swift
We travelled through an area that was devastated by forest fires two years ago , the area is slowly recovering with grass and shrubs but all around blackened trees shoot up to the sky.
We diverted to Kaiafa Lake and quickly left, the area stank from the standing water for some miles around and the air was alive with mosquitoes and not a bird to be seen !
Travelling over the bridge that crosses the Alphios river near Olympia a male Little Bittern flew into cover, a little further along the road we spotted a very large dead Otter laying in the road aprox length one metre, we are not sure what species. We stop a couple of hundred metres further along to try to find out what the otter was and spot an unfinished Penduline Tit nest, we took a couple of photos but as we were trying to get back to the otter a thunderstorm materialized and we made a dash for the motorhome and Ancient Olympia.
We took Mia for her evening walk and Sue nearly trod on a toad the size of my hand, unfortunately no camera with us, later realising we could have taken a shot with the mobile phone. We parked for the night in the town near the museum along with a couple of others. Hearing a Little Owl at 11pm.
We were up at six as the archaeological sites opened at 8am, we had previously visited the other sites in the area and had missed out on the museum. We were half an hour into our visit when several coach loads of other tourists descended on our chosen museum, we made a dash for it and ascended the hill to the motorhome ….just in time ... council workers were erecting bollards and we were lucky to get out as several cars had already been effectively bolted in.
Before leaving we had spotted ….
Blackbird Great Tit Greenfinch
Corn Bunting Cetti’s Warbler House Sparrow
Our all to brief detour into Ancient Olympia over, we headed towards our next stopover Kotichi Lake.
We found many flooded water catchment areas with a few birds present, mostly Black-winged Stilts and Little Egrets, this area looked promising for a winter visit.
Arriving at Kotichi we travelled north along the spit of land towards the information centre and watch tower.
Again the centre was closed and the tower looked a little too unsafe to climb, birding looked really promising.
We planned to stay overnight by the fishermen’s huts and the centre and started our birding here in the late afternoon.
Our first sighting of White Pelican in the area definitely looking good here
a single bird was spotted on the far banks and Fan-tailed Warbler [Zitting Cisticola] everywhere and we managed with some difficulty to get some pictures of these small warblers. Not the best time of day to get photos, there was a lot of heat haze and murk and the temperatures were steadily climbing.
House Martin Sand Martin Barn Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow Black-winged Stilt Little Stint
Little Grebe 4 Little Tern 6 Little Egret 90+
Cetti’s Warbler Zitting Cisticola Sandwich Tern 1
Common Tern 3 Whiskered Tern 1 Great Egret 2
Grey Heron 11+ Turnstone Curlew Sandpiper 10+
Common Sandpiper 2 Grey Plover 1 Cormorant 1
Yellow Wagtail 3 Corn Bunting Hooded Crow
Jackdaw Stonechat White Pelican 1
Squacco Heron 2 Osprey 1 March Harrier 1
Yellow-legged Gull Hobby Wood Sandpiper
Golden Plover 3 Little ringed Plover 2
We settled down with the sea on one side and the lagoon on the other with a fantastic sunset out across the sea and no other people for a few miles, bliss….
We were woken early at 5am as fishermen started to arrive and we started our birding early with the sound of the Cisticola’s, several of which could be heard as they zitted their way to the boundary’s of their territories, this little warbler which we had hoped to add to our Crete list but have not been able to find, was alive with them, everywhere we stopped they could be heard, if we were not sure what we were looking for before, we will not mistake them now.
With the sun in our eyes this morning and a mist across the lagoon it was not the best place to be and there was a mass of midges and mozzies about but we stayed and watched the Cisticola’s and were to be rewarded with a group of 6 Collared Pratincoles another bird that is elusive in Crete and we have only seen on one occasion before.
You will have to excuse us for adding so many pictures of the Zitting Cisticola but as a new species to us we could not get enough of them ! and may not see them again for some time.
Zitting Cisticola Little Egret 12 Grey Heron 20 +
Black-winged Stilt 20+ Yellow Wagtail Turnstone
Yellow-legged Gull Little Tern 10+ Common Tern 6+
Corn Bunting Meadow Pipit 1 Little Ringed Plover 4
Cormorant 3 Barn Swallow Coot 50+
Magpie Collared Pratincole 6 Squacco Heron 4
Sand Martin Great Reed Warbler Cetti’s Warbler
Hobby Curlew Sandpiper Golden Plover
We left at around 11am and headed for Strofilia Forest and Kalogria lake, as we were pulling out we met a couple in a rangers car who told us that the area we were heading for would be better and handed us some leaflets.
On route we stopped at several locations that looked promising and added
Goldfinch Blue Tit Kestrel
Greenfinch Little Bittern 1 male Great Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler Penduline Tit Collared Dove
And a Balkan Green Lizard
Sue spotted a nice flower at the side of the road
Approaching the Forest area we spotted in a field of cattle, several
Little Egret and a single Cattle Egret
Woodchat Shrike, Marsh Harrier 1, Whiskered Tern were the only birds seen here, the watchtower and the information buildings are virtual ruins, one building was manned by a ranger and the whole area was swarming with a type of Horsefly and rather than stay the night as planned we departed this area quickly, a visit in the winter months we feel would be would be far more productive.
We looked for a campsite and found one at Kato Alissos 22km west of Patras, here we would charge the laptop and phones taking a couple of days to recharge our own batteries.
We had a Scops Owl here sat in an Olive tree above our motorhome calling for some minutes with its mournful monotone “peoon”.
We were still awake early when the Great Tit alarm went off; staying around the campsite for the morning, spotting a large lizard type ghecko [12-13cm ]we think may have been an Agama, we tried to get some pictures but it remained in cover but we managed another Kotschy’s Gecko.
We later went for a walk along the beach nearby and watched the boats and Terns offshore, returning and having a lazy afternoon and evening at Camping Alissos….….
Great Tit Blackbird Barn Swallow
Blue Tit Collared Dove Corn Bunting
Common Sandpiper 2 Greenfinch Little Tern 6
House Martin Hooded Crow Yellow Wagtail
Goldfinch Spotted Flycatcher Serin
House Sparrow Yellow-legged Gull Scops Owl
Golden Oriole Italian Sparrow
To be continued……………….
PART TWO…… 8th- 10thMay…..Rio Bridge and beyond
Today we set off for the short hop across from the Peleponnese over the new and spectacular Rio Bridge and onto the western mainland with only a few miles to then get to Messalongi with the salt lagoons and marshes.
We get a new species here today as highlighted below.
Before setting off at 10am we add the following to our daily list
Blackbird Greenfinch Golden Oriole
Spotted Flycatcher Goldfinch Nightingale
House Sparrow Italian Sparrow
Arriving at the lagoons about 11.30am we head off onto the narrow causeway with our hopes high for some special birding, we were not to be disappointed today and quickly spotted many birds feeding in the shallows as we drove into Tourlida.
Avocet 20+ Sanderling 10+ Kentish Plover 50+
Curlew Sandpiper 300+ Turnstone 10+ Little Tern 20+
Yellow-legged Gull Little Stint 400+ Ringed Plover 20+
Hooded Crow Magpie Yellow Wagtail 30+
White Pelican 1 Common Tern 20+ Oystercatcher 1
Ruff 1 Redshank 2 Grey Heron
Shelduck 2 Collared Pratincole 2 Curlew 15
Zitting Cisticola Spanish Sparrow Corn Bunting
Crested Lark Sand Martin Swift
Little Egret 50+ Grey Plover 1 Black-headed Gull 10
Slender-billed Gull Flamingo 200-300 Common Sandpiper
White Wagtail 1 Barn Swallow House Martin
Great sightings of a few hundred Flamingo lifting off on numerous occasions as small planes flew from a nearby airfield, the birds would repeatedly land in the same area then as another plane looped around they would all lift into the air again for several minutes.
Our first Slender-billed Gull was a nice sighting, we spotted this different looking bird in amongst the Black-headed Gulls as we drove towards a different area along the causeway we quickly stopped and we were lucky to grab a few photos.
Large numbers of Kentish Plover were seen almost everywhere as were the Curlew Sandpiper. A great days birding and we eventually found a place to spend the night, way out on the lagoon near wooden bungalows with the sea on one side and the lagoon on the other. Throughout the night we heard the calls of Curlew, the ones we had spotted in the day had been distant and we would be on the lookout for that elusive Slender–billed Curlew tomorrow. Some hopes !!!
So with just us and the birds for company we settled down for a really quiet night.
Some of the birds of the day
This morning saw us awake at 5.30 when a local fisherman drove past. Still dark, we were up and about to catch the sunrise.
After breakfast we drove further along the spit and found a large colony of breeding Sand Martin, we stayed an hour watching them and heard the sound of Collared Pratincole nearby and found a group of about 20 sat on the flats behind us. We think this may have also been a breeding colony and we were torn between watching their comings and goings as well as the martins.
Several small mixed flocks of waders flew through very fast which had us testing our wader identification skills.
Driving back onto the causeway we noticed that several species from yesterday were absent or in reduced numbers and had possibly moved further north on their migration.
House Sparrow Spanish Sparrow Little Egret
Barn Swallow Little Tern Common Tern
Kentish Plover Yellow-legged Gull Magpie
Little Stint Oystercatcher Curlew Sandpiper [few]
Crested Lark Hooded Crow Sand Martin
Green Sandpiper Grey Heron 5 Yellow Wagtail
Black-winged Stilt Curlew Turtle Dove
Collared Pratincole Skylark Stone Curlew
Marsh Harrier m Corn Bunting Avocet
Sanderling Ringed Plover Flamingo
Cuckoo Greenfinch Ruff
Mallard Spotted Flycatcher Shelduck
Black-headed Gull Redshank Dunlin
We drove away from our night halt as the sun was rising, Sue found an insect that turned out to be a Glow-worm larva which was duly photographed before we were on our way.
Today would see us moving a few miles across the bay to another lagoon area. Where we found evidence of the wildfowl slaughter in the winter we were warned about, in the roadside edges, thousands upon thousands of spent shotgun cartridge casings, we were amazed at how many there were and although we would have liked to have seen the winter spectacle of several hundred thousand wildfowl we definitely will not return to this area during the winter period. The road here is more than a kilometre long and with lagoon on both sides it was easy to imagine the hunters stood metres apart blasting away on either side of the road at anything that flew, it was no wonder the birds moved off at any sign of human presence. It would be nice to see the road lined with scopes, bins and birders though wouldn’t it.
However now was not the hunting season and we set off early for the short trip via Lord Byrons favourite Greek town of Messalongi, passing through Neochori and onto Louros, another small spit of land with small shacks and a few dilapidated stone and brick houses.
As we left our night stop location Sue spotted a large turtle that was marooned on the beach we are not sure if it was alive or not it was not there the night before. It was on a stretch of mud between the sea and the sand, looking at the mud areas previously we decided it would have been a dangerous situation to enter onto the area and we reluctantly left it to its fate.
We spotted on the way…..
Curlew Little Tern Common Tern
House Sparrow Spanish Sparrow Little Egret
Magpie Collared Dove Flamingo
Stone Curlew Sand Martin Crested Lark
Oystercatcher Little Stint Ruff
Redshank Black-winged Stilt Yellow Wagtail
Avocet Kentish Plover Great Egret
Our route took us slightly inland, passing through the island village of Etoliko connected both ends by bridges.
We then drove on through Neochori where we spotted three white stork nests two on especially prepared platforms atop of electric poles, a sight we would see over the next few days in several of the villages we passed through.
Leaving here we had the difficult task of finding the right roads to get to our destination and spent some time on the wrong road before locating the correct route.
Barn Swallow Zitting Cisticola House Martin
Cetti’s Warbler Great Tit Hooded Crow
White Stork Chaffinch Red-backed Shrike
Greenfinch Whinchat Black-headed Gull
Great Reed Warbler Whiskered Tern Marsh Harrier
Squacco Heron Shelduck Mute Swan 6
Several hundred Coot were spotted moving quickly away in the distance [this was the winter hunting area mentioned above]
Sue then caught sight of a raptor and we watched for some time as an Osprey hunted and came fairly close, diving onto the surface on several occasions, it was unlucky not to catch its morning meal and moved off southeast and onto a distant area of the lagoon.
Today would bring us our sightings that gave us our header for this trip, as we next spotted Caspian and Gull-billed Tern sat on a salt flat, the Caspians having a rest, before following the [axelvos ] Acheloos River north.
These were two new species for us and we watched in the hope of the sight of them flying and every now and then they obliged and gave us good views.
We continued on, spotting…
Cormorant Short-toed Eagle Bee-eater
Pochard Moorhen Goldfinch
Skylark Sardinian Warbler Hoopoe
A Corncrake was heard after we had found a place to park up and spend the night although we scanned the area we could not find it. We were on a flat area of sun baked sand and mud having tea when I looked across and over Sue’s shoulder, I noticed a boulder moving across the sand ! …. Sue’s hopes for tortoise were realised, we abandoned our tea, grabbed cameras and raced out, these tortoises are large, this one was 30cm and was racing away fast, retreating into its shell as we approached, we snapped away and waited for it to emerge. Eventually it decided we were not a threat and moved off into some nearby cover for the night, we found it still there early the next morning.
We later emailed Lisa in the UK who identified the species for us, as Marginated Tortoise Testudo marginata.
Many thanks to Lisa…. see links page under: Tortoise
Link for details of the Marginated Tortoise. see links page under: Tortoise
We later sat watching Stone Curlew wandering over the sandflats nearby
A great day with five tern species, a tortoise and three raptors.
To be continued……………….
TORTOISES AND TERNS
PELOPONNESE AND WEST COAST GREECE
PART THREE……11th- 14th from the lagoons of Messalongi to Amvrakikos Gulf and Igoumenitsa
This morning we would be birding the Messalongi lagoons again before moving north again to Amvrakikos Gulf. Here we are hoping to get our Dalmatian Pelican and visit the Rodia Wetlands visitor centre at Strongili and the bird hides that cover the area.
An early morning dawn bat flew past and we soon spotted a few bird species. Walking Mia along the beach Sue caught sight of 18 Squacco Heron roosting on the waters edge later flying off when a car drove nearby, we again managed a few pictures, nothing stays put for long here.
We would drive further along the rough track looking for some flowers in this area.
We were soon to find our tortoise from last night and minutes later when we looked again he had vanished, all this sand with barely any cover and it was gone !
A flock of Collared Pratincole stayed noisily feeding overhead for about thirty minutes giving great views of these spectacularly marked birds.
It was soon time to be on the move. We stowed all our gear away and drove slowly along searching the dunes for the flowers Sue wanted to find and very quickly spotted more tortoise, four in all were seen.
These were all of the same size 30+ cm we were not able to find any smaller ones, these were though very impressive, we found another one later on wandering down the middle of the road with drops on either side this would end up as roadkill and we duly re sited it in a safe area.
Sue found a few different flower species and we retraced our way back when we could go no further.
Stone Curlew Hoopoe House Sparrow
Collared Dove Little Egret Barn Swallow
Squacco Heron Yellow-legged Gull Common Tern
Little Tern Black-winged Stilt Bee-eater 1
Sardinian Warbler Skylark Crested Lark
Flamingo 1 Coot Great Reed Warbler
Goldfinch Yellow Wagtail Black-headed Gull
Shelduck 2 Zitting Cisticola Corn Bunting
Kentish Plover Magpie Spanish Sparrow
Great White Egret Sand Martin Greenfinch
Collared Pratincole 70 Blackcap Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern Turnstone
Before leaving the lagoon we stopped again to scan the area for the terns and also found a large group of horses and some Shelduck
We now left the area and headed north once more on route and more inland we added
Great Tit Red-rumped Swallow Song Thrush
Blackbird Common Buzzard
A flock of Jackdaw were spotted near a barn and 3 White Stork along with Yellow-legged Gulls were moving through a recently mown hay field a Cattle Egret was feeding among a flock of sheep.
We stopped in Vonitsa to stock up on food before driving through the new tunnel connecting the western areas of the gulf and into Preveza which would save us driving the long anticlockwise route around the gulf.
We arrived at the ancient ruins at Nikopolis a vast area founded by Octavian.
A quick stop here before we had to find a night halt.
We spotted some large white birds on the lagoon and these definitely were our awaited Dalmatian Pelican.
Looking for a place to stop and view at the roadside we pulled up at an entrance mostly overgrown and found it to be a hide and information area. Now derelict used as a rubbish dump and a toilet it was a mess and with the notice board still in place at the roadside a disgrace.
The only use for it now was for the Barn Swallows that were nest building, we watched the Pelicans for a while and decided that we would stop overnight in the carpark area, noisy by the main road, but a good viewing area for the lake the next morning.
We heard new birdcalls here and as there were many trees we had a chance for other than water birds.
Black-headed Bunting called from all around, we had hoped to see these, we last saw them on our India trip we soon also spotted
Willow Warbler Reed Warbler Kestrel
A Pheasant was heard nearby and two distant Mallard flew over and onto the lagoon.
We were once again awake early; traffic through the night was noisy but not too bad and woke us only occasionally. The morning chorus was much nicer and the Black-headed Bunting were in full cry today.
We soon moved on and found another viewing area with a pergola, trashed notice board and a burnt down hide, things did not look good for here.
We drove along a track near to the lagoon and found some nice Damselflies and Moths and a tern nesting site. Better views of the Dalmatian nest site were from this point however the pelicans had dispersed over the area fishing in pairs and singly.
Barn Swallow Black-headed Bunting Greenfinch
Magpie Blackbird Spanish Sparrow
Dalmatian Pelican Common Tern Cetti’s Warbler
Yellow-legged Gull Sardinian Warbler Goldfinch
Reed Warbler Little Egret House Sparrow
Great Reed Warbler Collared Dove White Stork [nest]
Bee-eater Corn Bunting Sand Martin
Quail [heard] Wryneck Hooded Crow
Near to the visitor centre at Stroggoli, “Rodia Wetland Centre”, we spotted a White Stork nest with many pairs of sparrows themselves nesting within the nest in the village and power lines full of Sand Martins.
Locating the visitor centre we were pleased to find it open and with lots of local information, we asked about the hides we had seen and were told that education of the locals was working but they had a long way to go. It seems they indeed do have a great deal of work to do as other centres mentioned in the information guides were closed down and seemingly abandoned. We bought a couple of T shirts and a nice book of the area. We also took a short boat trip when a couple of other tourists arrived and went out through the reeds and onto the lagoon only spotting the following…
Kentish Plover Black-winged Stilt Little Tern
Black-headed Gull Great Tit Yellow Wagtail
We had hoped to visit a nearby cave where lots of Horned Viper snakes were to be found but found the track very rough and had to miss out.
A little further along our new route we stopped to photograph some flowers by the roadside.
A pelican was seen circling above the road trying to gain height, we stopped just in time as it flew above us, an amazing few moments as we watched this enormous bird move right over us.
We now drove onto another spit of land, a very long causeway now connects the once island village of Koronisia with the mainland, this lovely little village has a couple of Tavernas and a a few houses but is a very popular eating place for the people of Arta who flock here at weekends, today though was quiet and we decided to stop the night in the carpark along the beach.
Up before the sun we watched an aged fisherman and his wife both of whom looked in their eighties beach their boat after a nights fishing, with her then standing in the shallows emptying the nets and he folding them away. For a couple of hours they continued in this way, we left them to it and continued on our way.
Our destination today was a campsite near Igoumenitsa Kalami Camping and we continued to bird along the way.
We spotted a few road kill martens, a tortoise, several snake species and a fox, we were later today to spot a live fox sat in a field we watched him sat overlooking a mown hay field for some minutes before he loped off.
Numbers of Great Reed Warbler today they could be heard everywhere and if we had counted figures would have gone into low hundreds.
Another first today was the Olive Tree Warbler; unfortunately we did not obtain a photo.
Barn Swallow Mute Swan Corn Bunting
Yellow-legged Gull Grey Heron Hooded Crow
Goldfinch Red-backed shrike Woodchat Shrike
Black-headed Bunting Cetti’s Warbler Little Egret
Common Buzzard 3 Dalmation Pelican 20+ Great Reed Warbler
Zitting Cisticola Magpie Little Tern
Kestrel Sandwich Tern Common Tern
Blackbird Great Tit Greenfinch
Jay 1 Bee-eater 20+ Sand Martin
White Stork [nests] Little Bittern m&f Collared Dove
Spanish Sparrow House Sparrow Olive Tree Warbler
Black-eared Wheatear [black throated]
We stopped for a coffee on a steep hill as we progressed northwards and looking down towards the sea spotted another wetland area, the calls of the Great Reed Warbler echoed up the hillside.
We had hoped to rest and recharge our batteries here at Kalami Camping; rest was not easy, we were parked up near the main highway with a twisty hilly section above us all night long we were kept awake by the noise of the trucks as they traversed above us. The campsite though was great with good facilities. Temperatures have risen daily each day and today we were told it was 31oC and we were glad to be having a break.
Today would see us catch the ferry at 1030pm from Igoumenitsa to Ancona in Italy; we stayed on the campsite until 2pm.
More sightings of Olive Tree Warbler and Sue caught sight a small flock of ten Chough.
The following birds were seen on the campsite….
Greenfinch Collared Dove Goldfinch
Chaffinch Blue Rock Thrush Black-headed Bunting
Yellow-legged Gull Bee-eater Magpie
Black-eared Wheatear [white throated & black throated]
Driving over the mountains and with time to kill we spotted more wetlands on the north edge of Igoumenitsa Bay and duly tried to find the road , soon getting lost and being directed to the more northern lakes near Kestrini near the border with Albania we were lucky to now ask the right person who told us to follow him. Giving our thanks and now on the correct road we soon found the lagoons but little in the way of birds, the beaches on the other side of the road are very popular and were fairly crowded. We did have a few nice sightings of birds, insects and flowers as we drove further along and away from the more populated areas.
Grey Heron 8 Little Egret 20+ Cattle Egret 1
White Stork 1 Common Buzzard 1 Nightingale
Jay 1 Glossy ibis 12 Yellow-legged Gull
Great Reed Warbler Hooded Crow House Martin
We spent the early evening in Igoumenitsa and passed through security check in without any problems, the illegal immigrant problem is not as noticeable at this port whereas Patras has had in the past a real problem.
We boarded our ferry the ANEK lines Olympic Champion on time and along with only three other campervans on the big open deck , prepared for the evening in our same little motorhome cabin, as we could use our camper with electric connections and with the same facilities, Showers and toilets, as any shore based campsites. We were also free to use the other facilities onboard.
The three weeks that we spent travelling through the Peleponnese was all new country to us as was spending the time using and really getting used to our new motorhome.
Several new bird species, Tortoises and Terns, along with good weather made this section of our trip a really wonderful experience.Writing this report on the morning of the 15th, sitting in the motorhome watching the sea speeding past from the ferry …… brings thoughts and expectations for our journey through Italy and France and onward to family reunions in the UK ………. We will get an early lunch before docking in Ancona and doubt we will ever forget this fantastic and memorable part of the journey.
|Back to C&S diary index|