Every year produces new and exciting bird and wildlife highlights in Lesvos, no tours are ever the same and there are always exceptional and often unexpected bird encounters which make each trip special. Heading out to Lesvos in April and early May lands you straight in the middle of spring migration, and whether you find yourself at the Kalloni saltpans watching waves of Marsh Terns passing over, Collared Pratincoles hawking over the ‘sheepfields’ or in the Olive Tree covered hills watching superb raptor passage you cannot fail to become hooked on the Islands staggering birdlife.
A passing Short-toed Eagle, a common raptor in Lesvos.
The very warm, comfortable climate, ease of birding and general accessibility to the tops bird sites and locations throughout the Island make for a birdwatchers paradise and a place you will feel compelled to visit time and time again. The only downside is that as the Island is now so famous for it’s Spring migration spectacle which is possibly the best in Europe, that birders and photographers arrive in ever increasing numbers each year from around the globe and locations such as the Kalloni saltpans can be awash with minibuses and large format lenses at the prime times. However, it is still very possible to lose the crowds on get away off the beaten track. Our tours cater for small numbers and we rarely take more than minibus of clients, preferring the more intimate nature of smaller groups and a more minimal impact approach to the local environment and wildlife. Lesvos birding is of course the backbone of the tours, but we also strive to identify and enjoy ‘other’ taxa too, especially the insects and butterflies of which Lesvos is also very species rich. Like Fair Isle, you never know what’s going to turn up next, what the weather will dictate, and it is this unknown element which keeps the excitement and daily birding drive alive!
Greater Flamingo over the mountains near Kalloni Saltpans, a beautiful and regular sight on balmy Spring evenings. Hundreds of Flamingo can often be seen at the saltpans during Spring passage.
The resident Kruper’s Nuthatch, Lesvos is the only place to see this species in Europe! A true Western Palearctic species, to see this gorgeous rare bird at close quarters in a real Lesvos highlight for many.
Middle-spotted Woodpecker, a common resident breeder on Lesvos in most woodland types.
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, a common and widespread species on Lesvos.
I love to scouring the skies searching for Pallid Swift amongst the Common and Alpine Swifts. Eurasian Crag Martin, European Sand Martin, Barn Swallows and Red-rumped Swallow (below) are regularly encountered too.
Rupells’ Warbler is one of the most sought after birds on the Island each Spring, they breed in small numbers, this photograph was taken at a reliable site in the North of the Island.
The Rufous Bush Chat (above and below). One of the most enjoyable and charismatic birds on Lesvos! These birds return to the Island in small numbers each year to breed. sometimes they do not arrive back until the end of April so they are not a guarantee for every Spring trip. By early May they are generally back in and holding territory and are one of favourite Lesvos birds.
A Whiskered Tern at Sunset, Kalloni Saltpans. . . .
Visit www.naturalist.co.uk for our tours, itineraries and reports from Lesvos . . . .
Visit www.greenlesbos.com for all who want to help and see Lesvos habitat and species protected.
Visit www.lesvosbirding.com for the latest bird news from the Island!
More of my images . . . .visit www.rebeccanason.com