Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Birdwatching in Athens: Half-day tour, Sep 6, 2017

Jose and Maria is a married couple from Puerto Rico. They came to Greece with a friendly couple and wanted to include some birding to their experience pack from our country. Even though it was an almost last-minute notice, we managed to satsify their demand.

We started from Mt Hymettus and more particulary the Aesthetic Forest of Kaisariani, the most popular destination of a half-day tour as it is very close to Athens and offers a large variety of birds. We enjoyed great views of Great and Long-tailed Tits, Firecrests, Cirl Buntings, Short-toed Treecreepers, Spotted Flycatchers, Robins and Jays. 

Jay pecking on a grape left by a visitor

Robin
Leaving Kaisariani, we ascended the mountain and reached the top. Apart from the great view of Athens we had a really close view of a Red-backed Shrike. 

Red-backed Shrike
We left Mt Hymettus and headed towards Artemis Lagoon, a small but very important wetland in the east coast of Athens. We enjoyed nice views of Little Ringed Plovers, Wood Sandpipers, Curlew Sandpipers and Redshanks. We also managed to have good looks of a Snipe and a Water Raila, both species being quite secretive.

Water Rail

Common Snipe
Leaving Artemis, we visited the nearby Vravrona Wetland. It was almost noon and bird activity was low; we did see, however, migrating Whinchats and Northern Wheatears, local Kestrels and Buzzards and people enjoyed a nice walk along the path that leads to the impressive temple of Artemis.

It was time to end the half-day trip. 36 species were seen, a very satisfying number for a few hours' trip. People of this small group were really delighted as they got to see a different side of Athens, that most "mainstream" tourists never get the chance to.

Happy People from Puero Rico!




TRIP CHECKLIST 
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica)

Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica)

Coal Tit (Periparus ater)

Great Tit (Parus major)

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla)

Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)

Greater Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis)

Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)

Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)



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