Monday, 12 May 2014

Lesvos 2014 May 3rd

Today didn't start quite as early as the first two days leaving it to after 7.00am before setting off ! Having captured a satisfactory Rupell's Warbler image I decided to try somewhere new first thing  instead. Where better than the Little Owl up the road ?
Sure enough he was sat out on a pole in the farmyard but it being a rather sunny start to the day gave me problems with the backlighting,
Little Owl 2014-05-03
It was getting brighter by the minute and not in the direction I wanted it either .
Little Owl 2014-05-05
I decided to try the nearby road up to the Perasama reservoir. First thing there weren't many people about, neither where there many birds other than large numbers of Yellow Legged Gulls on the water either. Ruddy Shellduck do breed here apparently but on this morning none were to be seen. I returned back to the apartment via the bread shop and, with Claire's agreement set off on my own back to Kalloni while she remained enjoying some sunbathing weather at last.
On the outskirts of Kalloni is the well known Scops Owl site, there were a couple of cars there so I decided to stop off too. I'm glad I did because without knowing where to look I probably wouldn't have found them.
One was a short distance up the tree
Scops Owl 2014-05-03
The other much higher in an opposite tree
Scops Owl 2014-05-03
Another lifer for the trip !
I moved on to the river track I'd managed to miss with Claire and drove the full length go the south eastern side. A Red-backed Shrike was perched beautifully but as soon as I stopped the car it was off further down the track. Hopeful I might get a shot I followed slowly cursing every time it moved from a beautiful pose. Eventually it stopped long enough for me to grab a couple of shots but unfortunately for me, it's surrounded by twigs. Ah well, can't have it all !
Red Backed Shrike 2014-05-03
I followed the track all the way to an open field area at the bottom hearing Reed Warblers but not able to catch sight in the deep undergrowth. There were Crested Larks everywhere, it is one of the commoner birds we saw, and for a change I got a shot of one well off the ground.
Crested Lark 2014-05-03
Another flock of Bee-eaters was moving through, they were the most obvious passage bird during our trip, and as they go they take on food. I tried for some flight shots but they were always a bit too distant ,meaning the photo's are big crops and not as sharp as I'd like, however, they do show off the glorious colours.
European Bee-eater 2014-05-03 (1a)
I thought about crossing over to the west bank of the river but decided the ford looked too deep and instead headed on to the salt pans. I was disappointed to find very little although one single Spotted redshank gave me my first ever photo opportunity before being flushed by some birders who should have known better than to get out of their cars right in front of it.
Spotted Redshank 2014-05-03 (3). In the distance I saw a White Stork landing so decided to investigate, I found two sat on a industrial silo across the road.
White Stork 2014-05-03
With little about and the time approaching midday I headed back to the apartment for lunch to save leaving Claire all day on her own, not that she minds. The weather deteriorated as I travelled north and by the time I got back it was quite dull. In the afternoon I headed along the north track once again but failed to get many new opportunities other than Swallows collecting mud.
Both Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow 2014-05-03
and Red Rumped
Red Rumped Swallow 2014-05-03
The lighting was poor so I had to use a highish ISO but didn't have quite sufficient shutter speed for this take off shot which shows the red rump off nicely.
Red Rumped Swallow 2014-05-03
Shame it could have been quite good !
Nearby to the Swallow spot, a very muddy sheep pen was a good source of insects for both Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail. Wagtails were surprisingly few in number, I only saw a couple in the whole week. Both were different though, in addition to the Black-headed  I also got this, Grey-headed sub species.
Grey Headed Wagtail 2014-05-03 (1)
Whinchat were numerous but far from confiding. A typical view being something like this
Whinchat 2014-05-03
For once though, and for seconds only I had one on the other side of a metal fence. This shot is hardly cropped and it's so close the fencing wires don't show, instead you get a misty image.
Whinchat 2014-05-03
At least I had learnt from a previous attempt to photograph a Shrike when I had got out of the car to shoot over the fence but the bird was having none of it and flew.
It hadn't been a bad day but it hadn't lived up to expectations and the euphoria of the previous two. Worse still, Claire still hadn't had her day in the sun.The only consolation was to take her back to the Taverna Vafios for another excellent meal.

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