Monday, September 29, 2014

Birding Greek Style

Here are a few pictures from the recent holiday to Skiathos, Greece. 

There’d been an overnight thunderstorm storm and in the morning still rain in the air so Sue set off on the local bus into Skiathos Town for a cool shopping trip leaving me to drive the Jimny to Aselinos. Here I could search for migrant birds. 

Aselinos is a well-known beach in the north of the island, a quiet shoreline where tourists spend the day lounging on the sand and cooling off in the beachside taverna. Behind the beach is an area of low scrubby habitat, and beyond that a number of olive groves and stands of reeds, all hidden inside a well wooded valley; all in all a perfect place to bird but not in the 30 degrees heat of a typical Skiathos day. 

Aselinos- Skiathos

There seemed to be Red-backed Shrikes everywhere this year, no doubt some of them locally bred but so many of them that they could only be migrants from Europe. In two weeks I didn’t see a male shrike wearing its striking colours and suspect that 90% of the ones I saw were juvenile birds. The brown colouration of the female/juveniles makes them difficult to spot, especially as they can sit motionless for many minutes on a fence, branch or on the edge of a bush where the only give away is the slow-motion up and down movement of their tail. Nor are they especially approachable and it took two weeks of trying to obtain half decent pictures. 

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Rain still threatened with occasional heavy showers which soaked the back seats of the half open Jimny. We later learned that the thunderstorms had diverted planes from Skiathos to land instead in Athens where tourists faced an on overland bus and then ferry journey to make them 12 hours late for their Skiathos holiday. Oh the joys of travel. 

A wet Hooded Crow

 Aselinos - Skiathos

Behind the beach were hundreds of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs plus dozens of Whinchats, a good number of Yellow Wagtails and a dozen or more Wheatears. Along the track and in the olive groves I found shrikes, Hoopoe, Scops Owl, Cuckoo, Sparrowhawk, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. 

Olive grove

When a couple days later I searched the same area, the sun blazed down and 99% of the birds I’d seen before were no longer there - migration in action.

Whinchat
 
Whinchat

Willow Warbler

Whinchat

Whinchat

The Jimny is a great vehicle for exploring the rough tracks of Skiathos, a bright red one with a white roof not the best colour scheme to serve as a hide.

Suzuki Jimny

Chiffchaff

 Spotted Flycatcher

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

 Wood Warbler

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

The goats give up their milk to be used in the production of the famous feta (Φέτα) cheese. This herd comprised about 150 goats.

Goats in Skiathos

Wheatear

When the sun finally came out all that birding made for thirsty work and it is just amazing what those beach tavernas can cook up for hungry birders.

Beach Skiathos

Chicken Souvlaki

 Aselinos - Skiathos

Agistros - Skiathos

More Greek Delight soon from Another Bird Blog. Book your table now.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.

22 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

such beauties. liked the shrike and whinchat!

mick said...

Beautiful scenery - and habitat! - and so many birds. I like the look of the little red Suzuki. Great photos.

carol l mckenna said...

Stunning photos of beautiful birds and Greece for OWT ~

Happy Day to you ^_^

artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

Jane Hards Photography said...

Lovely scenery and the bird close ups are lovely. Quite a variety too.

Bob Bushell said...

I love the number 4, Red-backed Shike, it is beautiful, but all the rest are brilliant.

Our photos said...

Wow, i love these small birds. Very nice (the souvlaki too) !

eileeninmd said...

Phil, wonderful sightings of these Greek birds. My favorite is the shrike.. But, they are all beautiful. Great shots. Happy Birding!

Chris Rohrer said...

What a great vacation!!! I know how those birds can be. Sometimes it takes a week or two before you get the right shot. Envious. Jealous. And the food! They are rather brown birds. I'll have to study up on them all:) The Shrike is really interesting when compared to our own Loggerhead Shrike! Opa!

Margaret Adamson said...

Thanks for sharing your holidays. You certainly saw great birds. Love the Wood Warbler and the little red car and scenery

Linda said...

Lovely series of photos.

Janet Shaw said...

Great Vacation Photos! :)

Christian Weiß said...

Great birds, like the shrike.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful birds and scenery. The little red car is kind of cute. Looks like you had a great vacation.

Adam Jones said...

What a super set of birds. I'd happily see any of those on a day out here. The Shrike wins it for me though.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

As always!!........great photos!
I especially like the Hooded Crow this time around....it steals the show.

PS...that chicken dish makes me drool. And just think, an olive grove! Wow.

Jo said...

I found your blog on Stewart's WBW today. What a pleasure to share your beautiful photos of LBJ's. The first time I saw a Red-backed Shrike (and its female) was in the Nubian Desert, North Africa. Last summer, I saw my first one here in Tanzania, East Africa. We also get Spotted Flycatcher in our South African home (we work in East Africa/live in SA) I'm joining your blog after this comment. Enjoy your travels. Greetings Jo

Choy Wai Mun said...

Time alone to bird, great birds, tasty food, beautiful scenery - vacations can't get any better than this!

Karen said...

What a lovely place for a holiday. No shortage of great birds to photograph! Terrific shots, love the Whinchat!

Arija said...

Did you have Retsina with your souvlaki? What a great place for birding and lunch.

EG CameraGirl said...

Definitely a great place to bird. I love the photos of the red-backed shrike.

Marie said...

Oh my, oh my! A vacation to wonderful Greece! Love your photos! And love the birds! So glad I can at least tag along through your photos.

BumbleVee said...

Wow... you got some great shots of all kinds of birds ..

Souvlaki and chips.... catering to the Brits..... I wonder what the Greeks have with it.......

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