Saturday, September 18, 2021

Happy Holidays

Wednesday 15 September. Sue and I had jumped through hoops and clambered over obstacles to reach this point. There was no stopping us now as the jet finally climbed into the sky over Manchester Airport to leave England behind. We were on bang on time in our Boeing 737/800, along with 137 other hopeful holidaymakers on the way to Destination Skiathos.  

Three and a half hours later we arrived on the magical isle at 1355 local time to clear blue skies and 26 degrees. We trotted down the passenger staircase to waiting buses as the air crew wished us "Happy Holidays". We were set for 2 weeks in the sun, the crew to turn the plane around in an hour, fill it with fuel and more passengers, and then head back to Manchester. It's a hard life for some. 

We negotiated a few minor Greek hoops, (or maybe it seemed that way), grabbed our cases and quickly located Magda waiting at Arrivals with a Suzuki Jeep.  In high spirits if a little cramped by suitcases and photo gear, plus Sue's suntan creams & mossie sprays, we set off for Agia Paraskevi and Hotel Ostria, a 20 minute drive via Skiathos' Ring Road and the winding coastal route. 
Ostria Hotel
Agia Paraskevi is a tiny hamlet and tourist resort on the south coast of Skiathos at the start of the Platanias Valley, an unspoilt landscape that meanders inland through dusty unkempt tracks and scented pine clad hills to eventually reach the wild rocky north of Skiathos Island. That's for another day. 

The weather is hot, dry and sunny so not too good for birding or dropping migrants. The usual species crossed our path in small numbers – Red-backed Shrike, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Little Owl, Chiffchaff and Red-rumped Swallow, Spotted Flycatcher.


Spotted Flycatcher

Red-backed Shrike


The highlight of Thursday was a a road runner, an Isabelline Wheatear at Aselinos beach. I call them road runners because of the characteristic way they run over the landscape in pursuit of prey rather than the wait and see feeding of Northern Wheatears. Unfortunately this one ran so fast that I couldn’t get a photo. 

Shopping and Skiathos Town today. Wish me luck.



Mike Attwood said...

Hello Phil,
I spent nearly 3 years of my life in the Med. Malta, Algeria, Cyprus, Suez and trips to Turkey and Greece and I cannot remember seeing a single bird, mind you I had other things to think about then. I was in the army.
Take care.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I'm so glad you made it to Greece - your photos are wonderful - happy holidays!

NCSue said...

I'm envious of you to be honest. We've not ventured far at all from home, and now the blasted delta variant is spiking which makes it seem like we'll never travel again! This has been going on FAR too long.
Thanks for sharing your photos so we can join the travel virtually at least - I know folks will enjoy seeing your shots at

NCSue said...

Thank you for joining the party at

Veronica Lee said...

Glad you made it to Greece, Phil.

I enjoyed your beautiful photos as always.

Have fun!

Angie said...

Phil - wonderful to see the beginning of your holiday snaps! What one person defines as "poor birding" is a treasure for others!

Lowcarb team member said...

So pleased to read that you made it back to Greece.
Hope you are having a great time.

I enjoyed the photographs here.
Take care.

All the best Jan

Wally Jones said...

We are very happy to hear your hoop-jumping was successful!

Some may think birding in dry sunny weather near bright blue water is not such a bad thing, no matter whether birds are spotted or not. Gini says that seeing any birds in that environment would be icing on the cake.

Hope you survived the shopping and have been able to return to more enjoyable pursuits.

Our late summer rains have paused and we are currently enjoying relatively low humidity (for us). Birding is great! And so are we.

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