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Old Friday 16th May 2008, 20:55   #1
Penny Clarke
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Lesvos 8th-15th May 2008

Just back from Lesvos 3am today - veeerrrry sleeeepppyyyy!

Stayed in Anaxos Gardens, Anaxos.

Will definately be going back next year, the island was just awesome and the bee eaters were spectacular as were all the birds we saw.

Did not see my dream Roller though (although I thought I did, flying distantly in a valley mid evening whilst we were driving round hairpin bends, but no-one would stop the car - one was seen while I was there! and worst dip for all of us was 3 times trying for a Great Spotted Cuckoo and also on a personal basis a female golden oriole.


Highlights for me personally: picking up the Rufous Bush Robin after a long wait and finding a Rock Thrush by the main bridge in the Potomia Valley and also an Olive Tree Warbler after a long wait. Also photographing a Hoopoe, found after taking a wrong turn! Also Scarce Swallowtail, baby tortoise, snakes and preying mantis found on a street lamp on return from restaurant and oozo!!! and a massive green cricket! Watching rose coloured starlings and bee eaters together in one bush!!!!!! 2 spur winged plovers and 2 pratincoles yards from each other, juv. long eared owl, 70+ terrapins in one pool etc etc etc.

See:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....=1#post1199962

for main highlights.

There were 4 of us in the group and we totalled 128 species for the week. Have not totted up my personal score yet, not far off 128 I don't think, but dipped badly on a female golden oriole and also barn owl and white wag. Will post detailed (as always) report soon.

Best Wishes Penny

Thank you to ALL the people who helped and advised me on this trip including BF Sandra Taylor who extremely kindly sent me a Lesvos map, Richard Brooks with lots of valuable info and John (BF Reader) also with lots of info including Rose Coloured Starlings' Mulburry Tree location! and to BF A Dancy for lots of camera advice.

Last edited by Penny Clarke : Friday 16th May 2008 at 21:43.
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 00:16   #2
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Richard brooks ,now theirs a name from lesvos,i call him MUD SKIPPER,after he got stuck in the mud with his car a few years ago,,nice selection of birds ,cant wait to go back again,
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 06:15   #3
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Nice to meet you out there Penny. Impressive list numbers for a week.
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 09:18   #4
Penny Clarke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
Nice to meet you out there Penny. Impressive list numbers for a week.
Just trying to remember now..... were you the man who was digiscoping the Rose Coloured Starlings?

Best Wishes Penny
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 10:35   #5
Connor Rand
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Sounds like a fantastic trip Penny, glad you had such a good time.

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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 10:51   #6
Penny Clarke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Connor Rand View Post
Sounds like a fantastic trip Penny, glad you had such a good time.

Connor
Hi Connor

Thanks.

Thought you would be out birding today! I am going out pm but trying to catch up with boring chores like washing this morning.

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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 11:47   #7
Richard Abr
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Hi

Hi Penny
Glad you are safely back in Norfolk and that you had a great trip.
Look forward to reading more details of your time in Lesvos in
due course.
Best wishes
Richard
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 19:31   #8
Mick Sway
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Lesvos 01 - 15 May

Hi Penny
Glad to hear that you enjoyed Lesvos.
We think that it's got good birding in safe and hospitable environment.
Tina and I must have just missed you since we were staying at the Anaxos Hotel.
We were on the opposite side of the East River Ford when the first Rosey's flew in to bathe last wed morning, then they flew into the Mulberry tree on the north bank.
If you go again White Wags and Red Rumped Swallows are regular on the bank of the Anaxos inlet, next the Seaside Taverna.
Shame we had to come back though!
Regards.

Mick & Tina Sway







Quote:
Originally Posted by Penny Clarke View Post
Just back from Lesvos 3am today - veeerrrry sleeeepppyyyy!

Stayed in Anaxos Gardens, Anaxos.

Will definately be going back next year, the island was just awesome and the bee eaters were spectacular as were all the birds we saw.

Did not see my dream Roller though (although I thought I did, flying distantly in a valley mid evening whilst we were driving round hairpin bends, but no-one would stop the car - one was seen while I was there! and worst dip for all of us was 3 times trying for a Great Spotted Cuckoo and also on a personal basis a female golden oriole.


Highlights for me personally: picking up the Rufous Bush Robin after a long wait and finding a Rock Thrush by the main bridge in the Potomia Valley and also an Olive Tree Warbler after a long wait. Also photographing a Hoopoe, found after taking a wrong turn! Also Scarce Swallowtail, baby tortoise, snakes and preying mantis found on a street lamp on return from restaurant and oozo!!! and a massive green cricket! Watching rose coloured starlings and bee eaters together in one bush!!!!!! 2 spur winged plovers and 2 pratincoles yards from each other, juv. long eared owl, 70+ terrapins in one pool etc etc etc.

See:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....=1#post1199962

for main highlights.

There were 4 of us in the group and we totalled 128 species for the week. Have not totted up my personal score yet, not far off 128 I don't think, but dipped badly on a female golden oriole and also barn owl and white wag. Will post detailed (as always) report soon.

Best Wishes Penny

Thank you to ALL the people who helped and advised me on this trip including BF Sandra Taylor who extremely kindly sent me a Lesvos map, Richard Brooks with lots of valuable info and John (BF Reader) also with lots of info including Rose Coloured Starlings' Mulburry Tree location! and to BF A Dancy for lots of camera advice.
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 19:56   #9
Steve Dudley
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Hi Penny

Good to hear you had such a good time. Anaxos is turning into one of the favoured areas for birders to stay.

Shame you missed Roller - loads around this spring (inc. today) right across the island. I saw them in each of my three weeks from 17 Apr. Rock Thrush is a top find, fewer than 20 records, and the second I know of this spring (one in Napi in April). What date was yours?

Let us know if you get to post a full report online and I will list it in the lesvosbirding.com reports page and link to it.
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 22:15   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penny Clarke View Post
Just trying to remember now..... were you the man who was digiscoping the Rose Coloured Starlings?

Best Wishes Penny
That be me.
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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 23:28   #11
Penny Clarke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Dudley View Post
Hi Penny

Good to hear you had such a good time. Anaxos is turning into one of the favoured areas for birders to stay.

Shame you missed Roller - loads around this spring (inc. today) right across the island. I saw them in each of my three weeks from 17 Apr. Rock Thrush is a top find, fewer than 20 records, and the second I know of this spring (one in Napi in April). What date was yours?

Let us know if you get to post a full report online and I will list it in the lesvosbirding.com reports page and link to it.
Hi Steve

I found the Rock Thrush at 6.10pm on Saturday 11 May by the Bridge at Potamia Valley and was seen by 2 others in my group along with a blue rock thrush as well. I will be posting a full report soon, next week probably.

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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 23:29   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
That be me.
Pleased to meet you too. I did get a picture of a rose coloured starling, well top half of one behind a green mulberry leaf!!!!!

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Old Saturday 17th May 2008, 23:33   #13
Penny Clarke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick Sway View Post
Hi Penny
Glad to hear that you enjoyed Lesvos.
We think that it's got good birding in safe and hospitable environment.
Tina and I must have just missed you since we were staying at the Anaxos Hotel.
We were on the opposite side of the East River Ford when the first Rosey's flew in to bathe last wed morning, then they flew into the Mulberry tree on the north bank.
If you go again White Wags and Red Rumped Swallows are regular on the bank of the Anaxos inlet, next the Seaside Taverna.
Shame we had to come back though!
Regards.

Mick & Tina Sway
Hi Mick and Tina

We did meet a couple staying in the Anaxos hotel!! I was in a group of 4 - me , Pete, Graham and Glyn. We saw the rose coloured starlings on the Wednesday too, they were in the mulberry tree by the ford at East River. Very envious of you seeing MY roller!!!!!!!

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Old Tuesday 20th May 2008, 19:55   #14
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I have not done trip report yet as have been unusually sleepy since I got back, also hundreds of pictures to go through.

While trying to ID an amazing creature I photographed out there I found the most fantastic website of photographs of Ray Wilson - the link is to his Lesbos trip in 2006, but also look at his other trip photos - photos I only dream about and when I looked up his equipment - a 600mm prime lens explained his stunning shots!!!!!!:

http://www.raywilsonbirdphotography....vos-intro.html

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Old Saturday 14th June 2008, 23:44   #15
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While waiting for my trip report!!!!!! (will be done this week!!!) see STUNNING SHOTS of Kit Day's Lesvos trip this April:

http://www.kitday-uk.com/latest.html



I have just booked to go back next year 30th April for 2 weeks!!!!!!!

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Old Sunday 15th June 2008, 13:25   #16
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Hope to meet you sometime during your holiday on Lesvos in 2009 Penny. Looking forward to your report.

Sandra

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Old Monday 7th July 2008, 23:11   #17
Penny Clarke
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8th May - 15th May 2008

Booked with CAS Travel in Holt, Norfolk.

MANOS - Anaxos Gardens, Anaxos, Lesvos
http://www.anaxosgardens-lesvos.gr/index.htm

Group: Penny, Pete, Glyn and Graham

Car booked with Billy’s Cars: Hyundai Matrix (group E) which was delivered and collected to our apartments
http://www.billys-rentacar.com/

Flying from Gatwick South Terminal with Excel Airways

Thursday 8th May

Departs Gatwick 13.55 arriving Mytilene 19.30 (2 hours ahead) and transfer to to accommodation is 2 hrs and 15 minutes - estimated time of arrival 21.45.

Thursday 15th May

Departs Mytilene 20.30 arriving Gatwick 22.20.

Useful websites:

http://www.richard-brooks.co.uk/

http://www.lesvosbirding.com/

http://www.raywilsonbirdphotography....vos-intro.html

http://www.gonebirding.org/Lesvos_2005_Tour_Report.htm

http://www.petecoe.com/gallerys.htm (excellent photographer we met)

Best map for the island is the Road Editions 212 Map which you can buy in the island - we found one in Petra.

Also 'Birding on the Greek Island of Lesvos' by Richard Brooks ISBN 0 9527249 2 8 which can be bought from Richard direct - see his website above.'

ITINARY FOR WEEK

Friday 9th May - Kalloni Pool/harbour/east and west river/Kalloni salt pans

Saturday 10th May - Derbyshire and Achladeri area

Sunday 11th May - Potomia valley and Kalloni inland lake

Monday 12th May - Sigri area and West of island

Tuesday 13th May - Kalloni Upper East River and Napi Valley

Wednesday 14th May - Kalloni pool and kalloni salt pans

Thursday 15th May - North of island

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Old Monday 7th July 2008, 23:21   #18
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Thursday 8th May

Graham and Glyn were travelling from Leicestershire and Pete (who lives in Holt) and I travelled from King’s Lynn (where I live) and we we all met up at the airport.

We left at 5.50am - I was driving and Pete was map reading which I decided would be the best option as I would probably direct us wrong and then I would be in BIG trouble! We arrived at Gatwick 9.15am (147 miles) at the ‘Summer Special Long Term carpark. Graham and Glyn arrived shortly after us and we all felt very excited about our journey ahead.

We got the yellow bus to the south terminal and we quickly got into the check in queue at 10.30am and they opened up at 11am - I am glad we did as the queue behind us was massive! First stop was a nice cup of tea from the Uppercrust. We then had a look round the shops and I succumbed to a travel set of 3 Chanel No. 5’s for 36.50! We then went through passport control where you now have to take your shoes off and searched!!!! (I have not flown for 10 years!) I had tons of things crammed in my CI sleaveless jacket with 12 pockets full of stuff, so I just took the whole thing off and put it through the scanner, I assured the security staff it would be quicker than me emptying the pockets! We then all went to Frankie’s and Benny’s and had birthday lunch - it was Glyn’s birthday today - I had nut roast with salad and garlic bread. We then went to Boots to stock up on some bottled water for the rest of the journey. We went through departure gate 23 and I gave my parents a quick ring.

We sat in seats 12a , b and 13a, b. We took off at 2.07 (13 minutes late). It was a 3 1/4 hours journey so we should arrive at Mytellini airport at 5.22pm (local time 7.22pm). Took some fantastic pictures with my Nikon coolpix of blue skies and fluffy white clouds amidst the mountains and sunshine and also of the Alps (see pic below). The landing was CRAP to say the least - it was the equivalent to an emergency car stop - we dropped and the second the wheels hit the runway we screeched to a stop so quickly I thought we were were going to crash!!!!!!! After we had come to a standstill (a few seconds later!) an air hostess (on behalf of the captain) said over the tannoy ‘we hope you have enjoyed your flight today and it was a pleasure to bring you down safely’ at which the whole plane roared simultanously with laughter - it was very funny, although not at the time!!!! It was now 7.35pm (local time).

As we walked off the plane I had expected it to be sticky hot, it was the complete opposite, in fact it was freezing cold!!! A coach transported us to the terminal - I hadn’t realised it was literally next to the sea, the main doors were 50 yards from the sea lapping on the shore. First bird tick, a house sparrow at the airport. After collecting our luggage our Manos Rep. led us to our transfer coach and we left at 8.10pm (transfer time 2 1/4 hours). We travelled through so many interesting villages, but sadly in the dark shortly after we departed, but I kept awake even though the day had been long - I love to see new places and don’t like wasting time sleeping - I think my companions had nodded off! There were lots of hairpin bends and it looked much more scenic and beautiful than I imagined - I felt very excited about exploring the next day when the sun had rose. Our luggage was delivered ahead of us and taken to all the different apartments. We arrived at Anaxos Gardens just after 10pm.

We had 2 rooms between the four of us and we had requested high floor and our rooms to be next to each other, but we were ground level and although our rooms were next to each other, Glyn and Graham were in for a shock - Pete and I randomly went into room 4 and Graham and Glyn went into room 3. We are all individuals so naturally all wanted a single bed each, so it was very amusing when Graham and Glyn came straight out again to announce that they had a double bed - they were not happy (Pete and I laughed), so after speaking to the owner, a young couple who had also just arrived, who had got a room with 2 singles were only two pleased to swop, much to the relief of G and G!!!

We dumped our stuff and went straight out to a supermarket a few doors from our apartments to stock up on breakfast stuff and water and of course chocolate!!! we could hear nightingales singing all around us. Back at the apartments, the lads went for a drink in the bar - I boringly stayed behind because I am a bit fanatical and like to unpack everything before going to sleep! The rooms were very clean and beautiful, we had a stunning bathroom with typical greek shower and no curtain! but I had bought one with me which I rigged up with string! We had a kettle, toaster and plates and cutlery etc. The only annoying thing was there was not a single hook anywhere to hang anything - yes we had a wardrobe but it would have been so helpful if there had been a hook on the back of the bathroom door or on the main door or anywhere really!!! Lovely balcony with table and chairs and a view of the swimming pool, beautiful flowers everywhere and the wonderful sound of marsh frogs singing interspersed with nightingales singing. Before I came on this holiday I had expected the nights to be sticky hot and was slightly miffed that we had not got air con - well BIG surprise - it was FREEZING!!!!!! I did not sleep a wink, because I was so cold we only had a sheet and a thin cover and there were no extra blankets in the wardrobe or anywhere I could find.

Pics below from left to right: Pic 1. Very sleepy people - Glyn, Pete and me. Pic 2. (cos I didn't get Graham in the 1st!) Graham, Glyn and Pete. Pic 3. Flying over the Alps. Pic 4. more fluffy clouds and Pic 5. Arriving at Mytellini airport
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Old Monday 7th July 2008, 23:27   #19
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Friday 9th May

Kalloni Pool/harbour/east and west river/Kalloni salt pans

I felt like crap after no sleep whatsoever, but we had to get up as the car was arriving from Billy’s Rentals at 8am (based in Anaxos). After breakfast of bread and jam for me as the supermarket we had gone to last night did not sell rice milk (I hadn’t expected to find it anyway, but did find some soya milk in a bigger supermarket in Kalloni a couple of days later). Pete had gone outside for a cigarette while I was in the shower and had seen a red rumped swallow. The car arrived on time and Pete and Glyn who were driving for the week, were taken for a spin round to get used to the car etc.

Much warmer this morning, which made a pleasant change after last night! After putting our birding gear etc in the car we left at 9am and made our way around hairpin bends towards the west river area. On route we stopped to check the map and saw a cormorant, a brief view of a masked shrike, a house martin, greenfinch, goldfinch, collared dove and a yellow leg gull. We parked the car by the bridge at Lower West River where there were several other birders. We saw black headed wagtails, crested larks, hooded crows, corn buntings, cetti’s warblers, a small copper and lots of other butterflies. Pete and I both had SLR’s with us and neither of us was quick enough for a black stork that got up from the river bed and flew immediately in front of us!!! 4 grey herons, black headed buntings everywhere. We walked out to the hide area and Pete quickly spotted a stone curlew flying over us and we saw common terns, kentish plovers, one great white egret (only one on island we were told). Possible night heron sitting on a far scrape in a heat haze, we thought it was but couldn’t really count it. There was a terrapin sitting in a dyke close to the path along with some what looked like water boatmen. We also watched a long legged buzzard!!! We filled up the car with petrol which cost 56 euros.

We then went into Skala Kalloni to find somewhere for lunch - it was extremely pretty and the road followed the shoreline. We had lunch in the Kalloni II hotel, it was very pretty here, the gardens were very colourful with roses and other colourful flowers which attracted in turn lots of insects and butterflies too. I got some fantastic shots of a spanish sparrow which had a nest in the roof of the patio area outside as did the swallows. We all had a greek omelette (6 euros each) and a cup of lemon tea (2.50 euros). We looked at the bird log book at Kalloni II at the amazing birds everyone had been seeing in past weeks! We then walked outside the hotel across the road to look at the Kalloni Pool where we saw a little bittern, cattle egret, black headed bunting, a reed warbler and a nightingale in the trees next to the hotel.

We then went to East River (2.40pm). It was absolutely beautiful here and we had stunning views of at least 20 bee eaters in their magnificient colours, swirling around in the glorious sunny blue skies and catching bees - they seemed to have a favourite tree for sitting in and I could have sat and watched them all day. The whole scene here of turquoise sea and beautiful flowers, trees and a sea of dark blood red poppies was just simply like heaven. There seemed to be so many birds in this particular spot as well. We had a great reed warbler both heard and seen, 1 hobby, 2 little egrets, 5 whiskered terns flew past (3.10pm), common terns and also 1 wood sandpiper.

Kalloni Saltpans (4pm) We drove through the ford where we passed several more wood sandpipers and followed a track until we came to an a T junction where lots of birders were viewing black winged stilts, including one on a nest etc etc etc!!! We turned left and parked along the road. 1 female red footed falcon was sitting on the telegraph wires along with bee eaters. 4 white winged black terns which were stunning to watch flew around all the time we were there, along with 17 black winged stilts, a massive selection of waders including wood sandpipers, curlew sandpipers, little stints, ruff, at least 124 greater flamingoes - I was so excited to see all these flamingoes in one pink mass!!! A black stork and a white stork spiralled round together above us!!! Bee eaters where whizzing about in all directions, I didn’t know which way to look first! Black headed buntings, little tern, blue headed wagtails, squacco heron in drainage ditch and on the opposite side of the path 2 spur winged plovers (WOW!) WITH 2 collared pratincoles a few yards away! Olivaceous warbler in the trees close to road and a little owl distantly by a farm building, a corn bunting sat singing in a pretty bush close to track, sand martins, house martins, swifts and blackbird. A woodpecker sp. bounded across a field distantly and crested larks and hooded crows were everywhere. It was very difficult to go home early - we arrived back at 7.50pm.

My first quest was to find the Manos Rep to get extra bedding, which I did and the owner’s daughter who spoke excellent english found us lots more blankets - in fact I now had 1 sheet, 1 cover, 2 very thick blankets and a big fat old fashioned feather eiderdown and I needed those every night I was there! The lads all had extra blankets too, we had all been cold. We all had a quick shower and walked to the sea front and had a delicious meal at Tropicana (as recommended by someone) I had eggplant (aubergine) with rice and salad and Saganaki (feta cheese) and an Ouzoo to guarantee my sleep that night!!! The service and food was excellent and we went back to this restaurant twice more in our stay. The ouzoo also had me giggling uncontrollably like a silly 16 year old all the way back to the apartments!!!!! (I don’t normally drink!) much to the amusements of the others who had never seen me in that state - I could walk but it was a in a zig zaggy pattern!!! People were looking for frogs with torches as we walked back, I hope that was for viewing and not for catching to eat! There were huge bamboos growing next the river and ditches, it just all looked fascinating, especially after the ouzoo! I spotted a preying mantis clung to a street lantern which I took a record, fuzzy shot of with my coolpix.

What a fantastic first day! Slept like a log!!!!

Pic 1. View from apartments at Anaxos Gardens. Pic 2. View from apartments. Pic 3. Skala Kalloni main beach taken while Pete was driving! Pic 4. Skala Kalloni Harbour. Pic 5. Skala Kalloni beach.

More to come.....
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Old Tuesday 8th July 2008, 00:13   #20
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Pic 1. Poppies on East River Bank, yards from the Great Reed Warbler. Pic 2. Bee eaters. Pic 3. Bee eater. Pic 4. Cropped Bee eater! Pic 5. White Stork
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Last edited by Penny Clarke : Tuesday 8th July 2008 at 22:42.
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Old Tuesday 8th July 2008, 19:19   #21
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Pic 1. Spanish Sparrow with caterpillar in Kalloni II Hotel patio. Pic 2 Spanish Sparrow at nest. Pic 3 & 4. Spur Winged Plovers.
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Old Tuesday 8th July 2008, 22:45   #22
Andy in West Oz
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Nice pics, Penny. The colours on the Bee Eater are stunning.
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Old Wednesday 9th July 2008, 00:18   #23
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Pic 1. Black Headed Wagtail. Pic 2. Black Headed Wagtail. Pic 3. Crested Lark. Pic 4. Corn Bunting. Pic 5. Black Headed Bunting.
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Old Wednesday 9th July 2008, 00:23   #24
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Pic 1. Black Winged Stilt. Pic 2 Black Stork. Pic 3. White Winged Black Tern. Pic 4. Greater Flamingoes. Pic 5. Fritiliary - which one please?
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Last edited by Penny Clarke : Wednesday 9th July 2008 at 01:06.
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Old Wednesday 9th July 2008, 00:28   #25
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Stray cats - very sad - another cat picture on 2nd page of this thread...
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