Monday, September 21, 2015

Skiathos Birding

Sue and I are in Skiathos, Greece so there’s no local news. Instead here are few views of Skiathos together with one or two birds which can be seen in Skiathos during the month of September. 

Skiathos is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, the westernmost island in the Northern Sporades group, east of the Pelion peninsula in Magnesia on the mainland, and west of the island of Skopelos. Much of Skiathos is wooded with Aleppo Pine and a small Stone Pine forest at the Koukounaries location where there is a lagoon and a popular beach. The island's forests are concentrated on the southwest and northern parts, but the presence of pine trees is prevalent throughout the island. 


The name of the island dates back to ancient times. Skiathos took part in wars against the Persians and in 478 BC, became a part of the Athenian Alliance. Later the island was occupied by Alexander the Great and then by the Romans. During the Byzantine period it sank into oblivion. In 1204 was conquered by the Venetians and in 1583 by the Turks. It was then that the inhabitants of the old town Chora, abandoned it and constructed on the north side of the island on a nearly invisible rock, the fortress known as Kastro. 

The now derelict Kastro is famous as a place where the rare Eleanora’s Falcon is guaranteed. September is one of the best months to see this spectacular falcon by way of a dusty, bumpy ride over mountainous tracks followed by a trek on foot to the remote cliffs where the Eleanora’s nest. 

Jimny to Kastro

Eleanora's Falcon

Kastro, Skiathos

During the Greek War of Independence of 1821, many warriors from Thessaly opposite, took refuge on the island. Skiathos was liberated in 1823. In 1830, the local people, left the historic Kastro and rebuilt Chora (now Skiathos Town). 

Life in Skiathos has changed a great deal since those days. Luxury hotels slowly began to be built along its lovely sand beaches, tourist activity continually grew and Skiathos became one of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece. The island of Skiathos has no villages and strangely as it seems, Skiathos Town is the only true settlement of the island. 

Skiathos Town

The coastal settlements were created in more recent years with the boom in tourism leading to the building of modern hotel complexes, rooms to let, shops, restaurants and cafes, close to the most beautiful beaches of the island. The town, which was built around 1830 on the remains of the Old Town, follows the traditional architecture influenced influence from the architectural style of mainland Pelion. Small whitewashed houses with tiles, balconies and small yards with flowers create the traditional neighbourhoods of Skiathos. 

In our small but perfectly formed hotel we awake to the sound of tinkling goat bells, free-range chickens and the resident Little Owl, but some days the Scops Owl. We take a cup of tea out to the garden to watch Red-rumped Swallows, Barn Swallows and House Martins swooping over the dewy grass. Up above there are more hirundines, often a Bee Eater and always an Alpine Swift or two. In the rows of vines, peppers, tomatoes and pomegranate trees are Blackcaps, Spotted Flycatchers, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. And there’s a seemingly permanent a Red-backed Shrike on the perfect fence. Birding pre-breakfast - what could be better? 

Spotted Flycatcher

Hotel, Skiathos

Red-backed Shrike

"Mikey" and his aubergines

Bee Eater


With just a smartphone on hand for 2 weeks it is unlikely I will be able to devote too much time to blogging, but I promise to return all visits and comments as soon as possible. 

In the meantime enjoy the photos, don’t forget to “click the pics”, and log in soon for more from Skiathos.


Gunilla Bäck said...

Looks like a wonderful place to visit. Enjoy!

eileeninmd said...

Wow, I am envious. I would love to visit Greece and the isles. Love the scenery and the birds. Great post, thanks for sharing your vacation. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Such beautiful location and such beautiful photos!

Chris Rohrer said...

Looks like a beautiful trip. Love the Shrike but I especially love your views!

David Gascoigne said...

Life is just so tough for you! Have a glass of Retsina for me.

Stuart Price said...

Have a good one Phil................

Linda said...

I get excited when I see photos of Greece, it is such a beautiful country! Wonderful post, Phil, and lovely to see a few birds, too! :)

Margaret Adamson said...

Looks like a lovelyplace to holiday and I am glad you made the treke and saw the falcon. Lovely shots of the Spotted Flycatcher.

Wally Jones said...

Outstanding falcon! What a terrific place to get away for awhile! Absolutely beautiful. Your brilliant bird images are a real treat, Phil! We really appreciate you sharing all of this!

Please be certain to alert the authorities when you plan to return to the U.K. so they can push the "resume" button for migration. I know you arranged to have it placed on "pause" while you are away.

Continue to enjoy a very special trip!

Mary Cromer said...

What a spectacular looking place to vacation, just beautiful.
The Falcon is a stunning bird and it sounds like you are seeing a lot of my favorite kind of birds in the Swallows and Owls you all have seen.
Are those eggplants that your friend is holding in the basket? We enjoy a couple of Greek dishes using them that we often have here.
It has been a pretty sad time in this household, but getting back slowly to life as it remains, and moving forward once again.
Have a wonderful week remaining in this place of beauty~

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