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Old Wednesday 30th October 2002, 19:19   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Coventry
Posts: 6,239
GreeK Mainland 2002 (Parga, North West Greece)

I will start the ball rolling with the trip report from my latest venture abroad. I had some amazing birds as the report will show. I hope it wets your appetite to try that area. I would definately recommend that you try it in Spring.

Following is the trip report that I placed in Birdtours.co.uk As yet it hasn't appeared in it but it will soon.

A trip report, From John Jennings, to cover our Birdwatching holiday in the Parga area of North western Greece. 21/09/02 to 05/10/02 including instructions on how to find most of these sites.

A trip report, From John Jennings, to cover our Birdwatching holiday in the Parga area of North western Greece. 21/09/02 to 05/10/02 including instructions on how to find most of these sites.

Introduction.

First let me start with the biggest disappointment I have had from a holiday. This disappointment only came to light two weeks after we got home when our photos were returned to us. I took over 250 photoís including shots of the Slender billed gull, Squacco Heron, Marsh harriers and Long legged buzzards as well as quite a few butterflies that I couldnít ID. Also there were shots of many of the sites we had visited. Apparently my SLR camera had developed a fault and not one photo came out only blackness with smudges of white. What a bummer!!! Anyway, back to the holiday.

For me this was my first visit to mainland Greece, although I have been to quite a few Greek islands, and one I will never forget. It was Rosí 2nd trip abroad (her first was earlier this year in Spain). We stayed at the Theodora Studios, which is on the highest part of Parga and is overlooked by the Venetian Fort. Almost directly beneath us was the Valtos beach.

Firstly our visit coincided with, what we were reliably informed by the locals, was the worst weather that area of Greece had experienced for over 150 years. We endured thunder, lightning, torrential rain, gale force winds and some days were very cold. I must admit that I love watching these continental lightning storms but after 9 days you begin to tire of them. On our travels we came across mud slides, rock slides, trees down, telegraph poles down, floods and at one point we had the whole side of a hill collapse over the main road we were travelling over. This lasted on and off from 21/09/02 until 01/10/02. After that the weather was great. In-between the earlier dates we had a few hours of sunshine but mainly it was very dark and cloudy. Still we had some brilliant birds culminating in both Slender billed Curlew (howís that for a lifer) and Slender billed Gull, 2 of the 4 Lifers I achieved. I have added a complete site location finder to this report to help those that, like me, have the time to put in to go that bit extra to find the birds. In the end we saw 145 species, missing quite a few birds that I expected to get but finding birds that, even in my wildest dreams, I didnít think I would see.

I would not hesitate in recommending this area to visit for all types of holidays, including birdwatching. One thing this area doesnít have are theme parks but if itís a relaxed holiday or a holiday visiting historical sites etc then Parga and the surrounding area could be just right for you. The food is good and cheap and the local vegetables and salads (especially the local grown tomatoes) are superb and there are some good beaches for the sun lovers. Also close by you have the islands of Corfu, Paxos, Anti Paxos, Lefkas and Kefalonia and all can be visited for a day out.

I did well to hire a car for 13 days for just £184 and I achieved this by checking out both teletext and internet sites that did car hire. The hire costs ranged wildly from almost £300 down to the figure I settled on. We used the car, a Suzuki Swift, every day except the day we did a boat trip to Anti Paxos and Paxos and covered a distance of 2,162 km (1,351 miles) travelling over many miles of tracks that were not on maps and finding some brilliant sites. Hopefully the site location finder that I have done will help some birders find some excellent birding sites for next spring, which I think would bring even better birds than we saw. Over the period of the two weeks many birds went unidentified, especially warblers and raptors but over the period of our stay I think that in the end I connected with a lot of what went unidentified.

Highlights.

I had two target birds only and connected with one of them. Pygmy Cormorant, which I got at Ioanini Lake, and Penduline Tit, which I never saw or heard, although we did see a number of their old nests. This did disappoint me, as I was more than hopeful of connecting with this bogey bird of mine. I got 3 other lifers, all totally unexpected. One totally gobsmacked me and that was Slender billed Curlew, surprisingly easy to call when it is with a party of Curlews but I wonder how I would have reacted if I had seen the bird on its own? That was in the Sagadia Wetland area very close to the Albanian border. 3rd lifer was a Slender-billed Gull (Rodia Lagoon)and the 4th was a Rock Thrush (just outside Tsgari on the Souli villages road). Other highlights were an Imperial Eagle flying low over our heads at the Rodia lagoon, also the memorable sighting, near Kesterini, of thousands of Alpine Swifts in the skies above us. Watching a pair of Golden Eagles dipping and diving and talon locking at the Souli junction of the Souli villages road followed by a low flying Golden Eagle juvenile. 5 White Pelicans at the wetlands near Kesterini and 50 plus Dalmatian Pelicans at both the Sagadia wetlands and the Lagarou lagoon area of the Amvrakikos Gulf. Also I was totally surprised when I came across 4 juvenile Greater Flamingoís at Rodia lagoon and 20+ Cattle Egrets as I drove along the dirt roads beyond Igoumenitsa. As far as I am aware Cattle Egrets are not supposed to be in Greece. Also one surprise was at Morfi Marshes. We were driving past and I heard a Great spotted Woodpecker (I never found it). We stopped and whilst I was searching the tree, I thought it was in, noticed a few birds in a nearby tree. Not finding the woodpecker I went to investigate the other birds. All took flight as I approached, bar one. The sun was low and strong and the bird was in silhouette so I shouted for Ros to bring my scope. By the time Ros had brought it to me it had moved and I thought it had gone but a movement on the other side of the tree caught my attention. I got the scope onto it, zoomed in at 60 mag, and found myself looking at a Wryneck. Only the 2nd time I have seen one.

Other highlights were, almost running down a Tortoise that was crossing a road in the middle of nowhere up high on a mountainside, Otters at both Acheron marshes and Sagadia wetland, some brilliant butterflies that included Two-tailed Pasha at a few sites including Rodia Lagoon, Sagaida wetlands etc, Camberwell Beauties, Southern Swallowtail, Southern Festoon plus a few that I couldnít ID. We also had up to 3 Blue Rock Thrush males and 1 female outside our studio every day, waking us up with their beautiful song.

General Information.

Get yourself a good map. I bought the Road Editions series map for the whole of Greece taking in all the islands, which I thought might be useful for later years. It is a 1-500,000 edition. You can buy the more localised version at 1-250,000. Mine cost 9 Euros, about £6. Ask at any travel agencies for any environmental and wildlife literature. We did and I got some excellent information doing just that. Our rep, Christine) was based at the ITS offices just by the jetty in Parga and she was most helpful. If you travel by Direct Greece to here you will possibly come into contact with Christine, possibly the best rep I have ever come across.

Some of the literature you should ask for is: The river Acheron, the narrows & the Delta (a guide for the Eco-Tourism). This booklet deals with everything regarding the river Acheron from its source through to the Delta, including the Acheron marshes. There is also a smashing booklet entitled Amvrakikos the Ecotourist Guide. An excellent booklet about the Amvrakikos Gulf and it details 50 different sites around the Gulf area. There is also a brochure type folder, containing a map called Amvrakikos Gulf Wetlands. A small booklet, given to us by chance by Gail, (who was very helpful) at the Ephirus travel agency in Parga, was for the Grigoris Tsogas footpath and it covers an area from Igoumenitsa to Sagiada. This is only a very small booklet but it made me aware that there was more to the area than I first thought. There will probably be more available but if you donít ask you donít get.

Most of the garages didnít take plastic and a lot of the shops didnít either. Petrol prices ranged wildly. We were using unleaded and those prices ranged from a high of 0.843 euros per litre down to 0.736. The cheapest was on a stretch that came off the Parga to Preveza road that went across to join the Arta road (on the way to the Rodia Lagoon area of the Amvrakikos Gulf). The next cheapest was in Glyki just before the Souli villages road at 0.746 and the next two were on the way to Igoumenitsa at 0.75. If, like me, you travel over these dirt track roads your car gets very dirty. The garage that was the cheapest also supplies free air for the tyres and a hosepipe that allows you to wash your car down for free. Worth bearing in mind when you are about to return the car.

If you go to Meteora beware of the road that goes from Igoumenitsa across to Meteora. It is mountainous and bendy with very few passing places (we went via Morfi and Paramythia which cut out a bit). It is also a national road connecting Greece with Turkey, Bulgaria etc. This means convoys of Arctics and some of the stunts these drivers, and coach and car drivers pulled to overtake each other were beyond belief. I lost count of the times I braked hard and swerved to the right to miss being hit by a car that had misjudged itís overtaking space. We also witnessed 2 pieces of the most manic driving I have ever witnessed. A coach, whose driver must have had no brain, literally overtook an Artic on a blind bend and for two blind bends they were going side by side. If anything had been coming the other way I dread to think what would have happened especially with a few thousand feet drop below us. The other was a car driver who thought that he could drive past a half a dozen Arctics, a coach and a few cars before reaching a blind bend. Wrong!! He just was about to pass the last Arctic when two Arctics came the other way. The first had to brake sharply, the 2nd almost ran into him and everything on our side had to slam their brakes on. I donít know how an accident didnít happen; then again perhaps a few pairs of trousers became slightly stained?? You are also stuck for ages behind these Artics and coaches as they crawl up these roads at about 15-20mph. This particular day we caught the most horrendous weather on the way back with thunder, lightning, torrential rain and floods. We almost ran into a flood by Morfi where a VW Beetle was stuck with water above its windows. Luckily the camber on the left hand side of the road was at an acute angle and I managed to get through.

Meteora is a bit of an experience with monasteries perched on rocks. Itís a photographers dream. Itís a shame it started to rain almost as soon as we got there. I am still glad I went there but I would have rather done without the driving bit getting there and back.

Itineries.

21/09/02 Didnít go anywhere as we arrived at our studio at just past 7pm.
22/09/02 Picked up the car at 11am. Acheron marshes, near Ammoudia.
23/09/02 Acheron marshes also the north side of Acheron marshes on the Valanidirach road.
24/09/02 Kalamas Wetlands in the Kestrini area.
25/09/02 Morfi marshes, Acheron marshes, Kypseli and the Souli villages road.
26/09/02 Amvrakikos Gulf,.
27/09/02 Parga Venetian Fort, Morfi, Souli villages road.
28/09/02 Meteora via Paramythia and Ionina Lake.
29/09/02 Lefkas, Acheron marshes.
30/09/02 Igoumenitsa Lagoons, Kalamas Wetlands near Kestrini.
01/10/02 Valtos, Souli villages road, Acheron marshes.
02/10/02 Boat trip to Anti Paxos and Paxos.
03/10/02 Morfi marshes, Sagiada Wetlands.
04/10/02 Amvrakikos Gulf.
05/10/02 Journey home.

Following are the site Instructions for places we visited whilst on holiday in Parga (North West Greece). Parga is on the mainland just south east of Corfu and lies approximately about 50 miles south of the Albanian border.

Rodia lagoon and onward to Salaora information centre and to Koronissia. This is only a small part of the Amvrakikos Gulf area.

From Parga travel towards Preveza. Take the first turning to Arta (there is a cheap petrol station within a couple of miles along this road). Follow this to a ĎTí junction and turn right for Arta. You will eventually go through Louros and keep on going until you see a right turn signposted for Petra and Strongili. There will also be a small sign for the Rodia Lagoon Wetland information centre there. (This road doesnít actually show on any of the maps we had as joining the two villages but it does) At this junction we stopped and to your left is a rock face where we saw our only western Rock Nuthatch. Take the road to your right here. Eventually you will come to a bend going right with a road going left. There is a stop sign here and on the wall facing you are 4 red arrows pointing right. Go right and follow this road until you reach Strongili village. As you approach the village there is a football pitch on your left. Just past it turn left and the wetland centre is on your left. Just past the centre turn right and stay on that road. It becomes a very good dirt track road that goes for miles and is a perfectly safe drive. You will go past a wetland area to your right and towards the end of that area you will come to a small picnic area where you can sit on benches with a table you can use under shade. After perhaps a meal you can carry on and eventually you will come to a second wetland area. It was here that I had my only Slender Billed Gull and had quite a few waders as well. After this you can continue and eventually you will come to a village with an area just before it that could produce. The road is now a tarmac road. Go through village to a ĎTí junction and turn right. Carry on to cross roads (BP garage over to your right). Turn left (into a short dual carriageway with a red and white post in the middle of it) and follow to another ĎTí junction (the road comes across you from the left at an acute angle). Turn right here and follow to ĎTí junction. Turn right here. This is the main Arta to Koronissia road. Follow this to the Salaora centre (which will be on your right) and beyond to Koronissia. You can drive past Koronissia along good tracks. This latter part is on the Lagarou Lagoon. All along from the Strongoli area there is plenty for you to look at. It is well worth spending the day here. We also went over on the eastern side of the Gulf but I found my way more by instinct than direction. If you are brave enough you should try it, as there are some brilliant areas to look at. We found some excellent birding spots with bags of potential. These were reached from the roads on the western side of Arta. Give yourself plenty of time to explore this area, if you do go there, as some of these tracks just end and you find yourself back tracking. I would still recommend trying it though.

Igoumenitsa to Sagiada area.

You must give this area a good look at. I spent three separate days looking over this area and extended my boundaries on each day. All of these sites can be linked together but you will have to use good tracks to do it. I found my way around okay and if you are sensible and have a good sense of direction it is relatively easy. I will describe directions to each site independently.

Igoumenitsa lagoons.

Coming from Parga you will go under a bridge just before the outskirts of Igoumenitsa. They are building a new port road here. If that is open you will turn left here. If it isnít take a left a bit further on (signposted for Paxos etc) and follow the road that skirts the ports. Stay on this road and ignore the Thessalonika signs etc and keep on going. This allows you to miss out driving through the centre of the town, which is very busy. The road eventually goes right, up a hill, and you will see a turn to your left for the beach. The beach name starts with a D but I canít remember the name. Turn left here and this eventually goes alongside some lagoons. This area can turn up anything and is well worth looking at, we had some Spoonbills here as well as some Wigeon and Teal. Carry on from here and you will come along a reed-fringed road, we saw our only Night Heron here. At the beginning of this stretch we found a flock of about 20 Spanish Sparrows. Once the reeds start watch out for the noise. There must be over a million Spanish / House sparrow hybrids and the noise is really deafening here. There were also plenty of other birds around as well (we also saw the totally unexpected sight of 20+ Cattle Egrets along here). After a while the tarmac ends and becomes a track going left. Follow this until you come to a ĎTí junction. Turn left here and follow this road past a couple of houses. Keep going and eventually you will see an abandoned factory on your left. You need to go to the back of this factory and to do it you will have to carry on until there is a track to your left. Take the left turn to a ĎTí junction and turn left. This goes to the back of the factory at a distance of about 200/300 yards away. There are some small lagoons there that might be old fish farm lagoons. There were plenty of birds here and we also saw our only Black Tern and Knot here. Come back on yourself and you can either turn right at the track where you came up or carry on. The track only goes a further 300 yards or so and turns right and joins the other track you came on. There is water all around here. At the end of this, or the other track, turn right and go back the way you came. You will come to the right turn you arrived on (there are some rusty metal things on the corner which you should notice when you first came on that road). Here you can either turn right and go back to Igoumenitsa via the lagoons or carry on. This part you will have to take a bit of a chance on.

Kestrini Wetland area

You are making for a village called Kestrini, which lies on a hill on your left hand side. I found my way okay but you might want to go back to Igoumenitsa and start from there with directions I am about to give. (If you want to carry on past the right turn to Igoumenitsa you have to go left somewhere along this track and you will eventually come to a ĎTí junction that has a white small Greek memorial box on it. You turn left here. Along this track you will come to two forks and you take a left at each fork. This track comes to a huge wetland area with an old pump house in the middle. We had White and Dalmatian Pelicans here and this area looks superb, especially for possibly a spring visit). If you donít want to take a chance on the tracks go back to Igoumenitsa. You will eventually reach the ĎTí junction, where you first turned left to take the beach road. Turn left here and within a few yards turn left. There is a large supermarket on the right hand side of this corner. Also a brick wall ends at the corner you will turn left on. Go down here for 100 yards or so and you will see a right turn. Turn right here, just past where the brick wall ends. Follow this road and eventually it reaches a ĎTí junction. This ĎTí junction is where a road comes across you and bends making it look as though it becomes a continuation of your road. Carry onto this road, going straight ahead. You will go past a Skoda showroom, on youíre left, and then after a little while a factory on your right with an ETEM sign on it. Just past here there will be another small factory, on your left, with DOORS on it and after a little while you will pass a Shell garage on your left. After passing here you will eventually see a sign for Kestrini. You need to turn left here, (they were building a small bridge here) and park up. The noise is deafening, as there is another colony of Sparrow hybrids here. The fields irrupted here every time a gun went off and the sky became filled with birds. There is a small stream that runs through here. We had a few raptors here and also the largest amount of Alpine Swifts I have ever witnessed. There were literally thousands and thousands in the sky above us and they appeared to be all Alpine Swifts and nothing else, as I couldnít see a Common Swift, Swallow or Martin of any sort amongst them. After scanning the surrounding area carry on along this road towards Kestrini and just before the village there is a right hand bend with a small reddy brown monument (with a greyish centre) on the left hand side of the bend. There is a track that goes off to the left that you take. This is the track mentioned earlier that has two forks on it. As I said earlier take the left hand track of each fork and you will reach the Wetland area. (If you find you have reached Kestrini not to worry, turn back on yourself and the first bend in the road you come to is the bend you want. The track you want will be on the right hand side if you do this)

Sagiada Wetland area

This is potentially the best area we visited and you will find it hard to believe but we connected with a Slender Billed Curlew here that was on the edge of a party of 20+ Curlews. Again there is two ways to do this. If you want to link it to the Kestrini area you can. To do this back track until you come back onto the road, where the memorial is, and turn left. Just at the edge of the village there is a right hand turn going into a road that is reed fringed. Turn right here and keep on this road. You will eventually come across signs for Sagiada. If you want the instructions from Igoumenitsa all you do is follow the Kestrini instructions I gave earlier with the exception that you keep going past the Kestrini sign. Follow this road all the way and eventually you will go over a long bridge that spans a wide river. The river rushes over it like a mini waterfall. After the bridge you go left and this road takes you straight to Sagiada. Whether you go straight there from Igoumenitsa or via Kestrini you end up doing the same thing. First of all go into the village and you will come to a point on a bend where you can go straight on towards the sea. Go on the road to the sea and there is a lagoon on your right worth exploring. Once you have done this go back but take the road past the port police. It ends shortly at the waters edge where the boats are moored. We had a black necked Grebe here. When you have looked at everything here then go for the best area. To do this back track to the village and take the road as if you are going back towards Kestrini / Igoumenitsa. After a short distance on the main road you will come to a track on your right. Take it and it goes over a bridge straight away to a ĎTí junction. Turn right here and you shortly join the wetland area. You again come to a bridge with a left and a right track. Go right and this track goes very straight for some way and skirts a huge area. There are birds of all sorts everywhere here and it was here, at the earlier part of the drive where we had the Slender billed Curlew. Eventually you will come to another bridge where the road goes to the left. The road beyond here is well worth looking at if you have the time. We followed it for a couple of miles past a farmhouse, where we had a very cooperative Squacco Heron.

That is the end of the Igoumenitsa / Sagiada / Kestrini area. If you did this area in the spring then I would think that it could produce an amazing array of birds, as the potential of this area looks absolutely brilliant. You have everything here. Mountains, plains, grassland, lagoons, ditches all manner of habitats.

Lefkada Salt Pans

I was given a cheap map from the car hire company that was for Lefkada. On it it indicated salt pans which I have found in the past can be magnets for birds in Greece & Spain. There were two indicated just outside of Lefkada. The first was supposedly behind a primary school but we could only find a small amount of water and a large amount of building going on leading me to presume that they have built on the first one. The second one we found and it does look full of potential. We had our first Great white Egret here and also our only Gull billed Tern. To find it follow these instructions. After coming out of Lefkada follow the Nidri signs. After a little while you will pass a large pylon on your right. On your left is the Metpa stoneworks and just past this on the same side is a new store that sells furniture and light fittings. Just past this there is a small sign saying Anesis village and not far past this, on the left, is the road you want. It is an obvious road as it is wider than most and is a black tarmac surface. The Villa Olga is on the corner. This road goes around a bend to the right and you follow it all around the large lagoon area. It becomes an ordinary track that is in very good condition and this track goes for some way and almost comes back on itself, but not quite. It eventually reaches a dead end after about a couple of kilometres and you have to come back on yourself to go back onto the main road.

Also checkout the area on the causeway approaching Lefkada. There is an area on your left, going to Lefkada, that was full of mainly Little Egrets and a couple of Great White Egrets. Give a good look at it as it could produce anything.

Acheron marshes (Ammoudia)

I used reports from Birdtours.co.uk from both Chris Cameron and Maurice Berry and I thank them both for at least alerting me to areas that gave me a head start. Acheron marshes was one of them. I visited this area 5 times and it is well worth visiting as it could, and did, throw up anything. I found that visiting it about three hours before dusk was very good for raptors and we had some excellent birds here. Both Maurice and Chris have directions for this area and you should print out their reports as well.

Souli Villages road

Souli Villages road is mentioned in one of the reports as well and this is excellent for raptors especially on the junction that is signposted for Souli. It is easy to get to. You must get to Glyki (there is a smashing bakery there just as you are coming out of the village on your left before the ĎTí junction). When you reach the ĎTí junction at Glyki turn left and drive for half a mile. The Souli villages road is on your right and you turn into it onto a very tight right hand hill climb (also a very cheap garage is just before your right hand turn turn, also on the right hand side).

Morfi Marsh

Morfi Marsh is where the Parga road meets the Preveza to Igoumenitsa road. You turn left here and Morfi Marsh extends on your left for a few kilometres.

Ioanina Lake

If you have a map it is easy to find at least I got a lifer here in the shape of a Pygmy Cormorant, (again one of the reports mentions how to find the car park for this lake).

Anti Paxos & Paxos

These two islands are serviced from both Parga and Igoumenitsa. The problem we had was that the weather was so bad that for the first few days all boats were stopped from going out so we left going there until the bad weather settled down. Unfortunately that coincided with the stopping of the daily services to these islands from the end of September until the new season next year. We had to take an excursion to get there but that only gave us an hour on Anti Paxos and 3 hours on Paxos giving us no time to really look at the islands.

Anti Paxos

This is a very small island. There is a smashing small beach with white sand and turquoise water and has two restaurants on the beach. At the side of the first restaurant there is a track that goes inland. Virtually every inch is covered in trees, bushes, brambles or anything that grows. There are plenty of birds but they are hard to see, as they just appear to disappear into the undergrowth as soon as you look at them. If you could spend a few hours here it might pay handsome dividends. We only saw Sparrows, Greenfinch, Spotted Flycatcher and our only Subalpine Warbler of the trip. I did meet a couple of English woman that were on the same track as me and they had come in from Corfu. They had 6 hours on the island. I donít think anything from Parga allows you to have that sort of time here but if you ask you might find out that there is a way to spend more time here.

Paxos

We canít give any indication what this island is like as we had a meal as soon as we arrived and by the time that was consumed we only had just under two hours on the island, no time to go anywhere. I did a spot of seawatching from here and saw both Coryís and Balearic Shearwater and that was from a spot just outside of Gaios.

Birds seen.
Species
1 Alpine Swift
2 Balearic Shearwater
3 Black Redstart
4 Black Stork
5 Black Tern
6 Black Vulture
7 Blackbird
8 Blackcap
9 Black-eared Wheatear
10 Black-headed Gull
11 Black-winged Stilt
12 Blue Rock Thrush
13 Blue Tit
14 Bonelli's Eagle
15 Booted Eagle
16 Calandra Lark
17 Cattle Egret
18 Cetti's Warbler
19 Chaffinch
20 Chiffchaff
21 Cirl Bunting
22 Collared Dove
23 Common Buzzard
24 Common Kestrel
25 Common Kingfisher
26 Common Redshank
27 Common Redstart
28 Common Sandpiper
29 Common Swift
30 Common Tern
31 Common Whitethroat
32 Coot
33 Cormorant
34 Corn Bunting
35 Cory's Shearwater
36 Crag Martin
37 Crested Lark
38 Curlew
39 Curlew Sandpiper
40 Dalmatian Pelican
41 Egyptian Vulture
42 Eleonora's Falcon
43 European Bee-eater
44 Fan-tailed Warbler
45 Gadwall
46 Golden Eagle
47 Golden Plover
48 Goldfinch
49 Goshawk
50 Great Crested Grebe
51 Great Reed Warbler
52 Great Tit
53 Great White Egret
54 Greater Flamingo
55 Greenfinch
56 Grey Heron
57 Grey Wagtail
58 Griffon Vulture
59 Gull-billed Tern
60 Hen Harrier
61 Hobby
62 Hooded Crow
63 House Martin
64 House Sparrow
65 Icterine Warbler
66 Imperial Eagle
67 Jackdaw
68 Jay
69 Kentish Plover
70 Knot
71 Lesser Black-backed Gull
72 Lesser Grey Shrike
73 Lesser Whitethroat
74 Levant Sparrowhawk
75 Little Egret
76 Little Grebe
77 Little Ringed Plover
78 Little Stint
79 Long-legged Buzzard
80 Magpie
81 Mallard
82 Marsh Harrier
83 Marsh Tit
84 Marsh Warbler
85 Masked Shrike
86 Meadow Pipit
87 Mediterranean Gull
88 Moorhen
89 Mute Swan
90 Night Heron
91 Nightingale
92 Northern Wheatear
93 Olivaceous Warbler
94 Olive-tree Warbler
95 Orphean Warbler
96 Oystercatcher
97 Peregrine Falcon
98 Pied Wagtail
99 Pochard
100 Purple Heron
101 Pygmy Cormorant
102 Raven
103 Red-backed Shrike
104 Red-rumped Swallow
105 Reed Warbler
106 Robin
107 Rock Thrush
108 Sand Martin
109 Sandwich Tern
110 Sardinian Warbler
111 Shag
112 Short-toed Eagle
113 Short-toed Lark
114 Slender-billed Curlew
115 Slender-billed Gull
116 Sombre Tit
117 Spanish Sparrow
118 Sparrowhawk
119 Spoonbill
120 Spotted Flycatcher
121 Spotted Redshank
122 Squacco Heron
123 Starling
124 Stonechat
125 Subalpine Warbler
126 Swallow
127 Tawny Pipit
128 Teal
129 Tree Pipit
130 Tree Sparrow
131 Twite
132 Western Rock Nuthatch
133 Whinchat
134 White Pelican
136 White Wagtail
137 Wigeon
138 Willow Warbler
139 Wood Pigeon
140 Wood Warbler
141 Woodchat Shrike
142 Wryneck
143 Yelkouan Shearwater
144 Yellow Wagtail
145 Yellow-legged Gull

I hope this is of help to you but if you want more info you can reach through private messaging, or e-mail me john@jenngsj24.freeserve.co.uk.

Regards
John Jennings.
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Old Sunday 3rd November 2002, 20:12   #2
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Another splendid report John. It's not an area that we are likely to visit, but I think it will be very useful for those that do.
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Old Monday 4th November 2002, 07:34   #3
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Great report John, simply great ...

... just a shame about that SLR. Real bummer if you ask me.
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Old Monday 4th November 2002, 20:56   #4
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Ian

Glad you liked the report. Shame you don't think that you are likely to visit there yourself. If ever you are thinking of doing the Greek Mainland I would give visiting here some serious thought. I feel that there is possibly more potential here than almost anywhere I have visited before.

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Old Monday 4th November 2002, 21:00   #5
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Ralph

Glad you liked the report and yes it was a bummer to find that I had lost every photo through a fault on my camera. This was why I was asking questions about a digital camera as i though that I might just as well get one, seeing as my system was probably ready for the knackers yard. Unfortunately my car developed a few unearthly noises on the way back home and I feel that I am in for a healthy bill on it. Oh well, the camera will have to take a back seat for a while.

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Old Tuesday 24th January 2006, 18:29   #6
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We had a 2 week holiday in Parga, it was one of our best in Greece. We stayed just behind Valtos beech and the walk up and over the hill to the main town or up to the resturants kept us fit. The effort to walk up the hill kept the resturant owners at the top on their toes (food had to be good to keep punters walking up the hill). This is apparently one of the poorest areas in Greece and so is relatively unspoiled. Our flat was within an olive/lemon grove, behind the beech was rather wooded and therefore had plenty of wild life. Trips inland worth while. Just hope the airport has improved.
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Old Tuesday 24th January 2006, 19:21   #7
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Blimey, where did you dig this old report up from. I had forgotten about that.

Still it brings back some fabulous memories (apart from a busted SLR camera and all those lost photos).
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Old Wednesday 25th January 2006, 21:35   #8
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Hi Reader.

A truly splendid report and I must say that Greece has pleanty of potential.We just need birders! Nice report of the Slender-billed Curlew did you report it? Greece seems to be the only country nowdays were it is annual.

Also I'll just inform you on the status of 2 species you were suprised you saw in my Country:

Cattle Egret: A regular 'vargant'(ie about 100 birds anualy), has bred at least once and may now do anualy but nobody really visits the heronries...

Greater Flamingo: A very common passage,winter visotor (counts of about 60.000 not unusual maximum was about 110.000) has attempted to breed but failed in all known cases

We look forward to your next visit ,

Cheers,

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Old Wednesday 25th January 2006, 21:54   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimitris
Hi Reader.

A truly splendid report and I must say that Greece has pleanty of potential.We just need birders! Nice report of the Slender-billed Curlew did you report it? Greece seems to be the only country nowdays were it is annual.
I didn't report it at the time but after I placed this report on Birdtours.co.uk a chap from Birdlife International (after all these years I can't remember his name now) contacted me and went through my description with me. He told me that unofficially it would be accepted as a sighting but as I had no other witnesses it couldn't be officially recognised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimitris
Also I'll just inform you on the status of 2 species you were suprised you saw in my Country:

Cattle Egret: A regular 'vargant'(ie about 100 birds anualy), has bred at least once and may now do anualy but nobody really visits the heronries...

Greater Flamingo: A very common passage,winter visotor (counts of about 60.000 not unusual maximum was about 110.000) has attempted to breed but failed in all known cases

We look forward to your next visit ,

Cheers,

Dimitris
Thanks for the info on the latter two. I had never done the Greek mainland before so was unsure of the status of those two.

I would love to come back to Parga but unless I can find someone to accompany me I won't be able to come. Unfortunately the only people that looked after our dogs have moved on so me and the missus can't make it abroad together for a while.

Cheers
John
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Old Wednesday 25th January 2006, 22:02   #10
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amazing report great birds
i got relitives in greece but not the main land when i visit i only see the usual types of birds youd expect nothing too special which i know the island of crofu can produced to an inexperinced birdwatcher and a good one too.
once again great report
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Old Wednesday 25th January 2006, 22:14   #11
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Hi John

mainland north-west Greece is an excellent spot with a lot of potential. I lived there for a year in 1998 and had a great time.

spent most of it looking for SBC migrating through the lakes (as i've told John before) before but drew a blank. Loads of other great stuff though, plently of migration and the people, food and places are lovely

Tim
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Old Sunday 29th January 2006, 12:03   #12
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Hi John

Thanks for the reference to my old report from 1999. Looks like you did better than me, but i can recall being very pleased with my lifers there ... Pelican, Subalpine Warbler and a few more. Certainly a place I'd like to go back to.

Chris
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Old Sunday 29th January 2006, 12:27   #13
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Hi John

Thanks for the reference to my old report from 1999. Looks like you did better than me, but i can recall being very pleased with my lifers there ... Pelican, Subalpine Warbler and a few more. Certainly a place I'd like to go back to.

Chris
It's a fabulous area isn't it Chris. If you are prepared to venture of the beaten track (especially near the NW area by the Albanian Coast - overlooking Corfu) you could be rewarded, as I was, with some special birds. Even if you are not so ventursome you will still get some impressive results.

I can't understand why more birdwatchers don't go there. It really does appear to be a very underwatched area.
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Old Monday 30th January 2006, 09:37   #14
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It's a fabulous area isn't it Chris. If you are prepared to venture of the beaten track (especially near the NW area by the Albanian Coast - overlooking Corfu) you could be rewarded, as I was, with some special birds. Even if you are not so ventursome you will still get some impressive results.

I can't understand why more birdwatchers don't go there. It really does appear to be a very underwatched area.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the area, both to serious birders and to birders with non-birding families. A very different experience to the islands.
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Old Saturday 13th December 2008, 18:55   #15
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Am resurecting this thread as there does not seem to be any others on this area.

I am looking for a holiday destination next year with my wife (a non birder) and therefore will probably get 2 or 3 days in a week in september to have a look around. Would have liked Lesvos but I dont think it it the place for the misses.

Just wondering if anyone has any reports since the excellent and informative one by John to update on sites.

I know my wife would like it as she has been to Parga before.

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Old Monday 15th December 2008, 09:03   #16
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new thread

I'd start a new thread if I was you Hedgeland, giving a title that will catch the eye of potential helpers and placed in the information wanted:Greece section.

All the best
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Old Monday 15th December 2008, 17:35   #17
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I agree with Stephen. A new thread might bring in some fresh answers.

John

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen C View Post
I'd start a new thread if I was you Hedgeland, giving a title that will catch the eye of potential helpers and placed in the information wanted:Greece section.

All the best
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Old Monday 15th December 2008, 20:19   #18
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cheers chaps

New thread created in the right location
regards
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Old Saturday 3rd January 2009, 20:44   #19
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Here's what I have:

I travelled through this area on my way from Corfu to Mykonos via the Peloponnese and Athens, in late August 08, with a visit to Ioannina. It wasn't strictly a birding trip, since I was visiting and photographing various archaeological sites, but I may well go back for the birds, since the whole area looked very promising indeed: very extensive wetlands and very large mountains in close proximity.

I was travelling by KTEL bus from Igoumenitsa to Ioannina and then south down to Patras, and even though we were unable to stop, I had at least three Lesser Grey Shrikes, plenty of nests of Penduline Tits, and three different large raptor species visible from the bus (none securely identified, but seemingly medium-larger eagle spp.: poss. Bonellis, Lesser Spotted, and Short-Toed, plus prob. Osprey). Egret spp. also seen from Ferry from Corfu to Igoumenitsa.

While in Ioannina, had awesome display from Lesser Kestrels passing over central Ioannina in the evening (heading for a roost?); they passed over in large numbers for at least 30 mins every evening at dusk. Do also visit the island in the middle of the lake: from the boat I had Ferruginous Duck amongst other things, and Alpine Swifts from the island. En route south, I also had White Stork, and the best area looked to be the Ambracian Gulf area for the enormous reed beds.

Given that I passed through the area on a bus late morning, in a couple of hours, at the wrong time of year, and picked up at least one new bird for me, I feel that the whole area will definitely repay further study. Do also bear in mind that Easyjet fly to Corfu and that the boat across to the mainland only takes an hour or so; pretty easy for me to get around armed with only a lonely planet guide and some camera gear.

Strongly recommended; the coast-road south down towards Nafpaktos is wonderful in itself. Attached photos are of lesser Kestrel over Ioannina (only had superzoom lens on at time, since was taking lake views and wasn't expecting to see the flypast!)
and of Ioannina and lake itself (from where I also took Kestrel photo: stunning location).
Best of luck!
D
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Old Wednesday 7th January 2009, 08:47   #20
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Thanks for the comments D.

Just looking on aerial maps through google shows the extensive nature of wetland habitats, forests and mountains in the area. Very surprised there is not more info o the area to be honest. Hopefully a holiday in September and if so will let you know.

regards
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Old Wednesday 7th January 2009, 22:24   #21
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I've just noticed this thread and since you mentioned Igoumenitsa, I'll throw in my 2 cents worth.

Just back in October we (myself + 4 family members) were on a sailing holiday ~ not a birding holiday. Towards the end of the week we found ourselves having to make a stop in Igoumenitsa to get some munski out of the bank!
We were only moored for less than an hour as Igoumenitsa is a very busy international commercial port and isn't the most pleasant place for a yacht. The colour of the water isn't what I'd consider conducive to any kind of fish-eating creature, and that is why we were so surprised to see a Kingfisher land, and stay on our stern line for about a minute before flying off to land on a rail parallel to, and about half-a-metre above the waterline of a nearby ferry boat.
So, what do I know about fishing in murky brown dockland water?
Obviously not as much as that Kingfisher!

P.S. ~ I hope that you've got yourself a digital SLR by now !!! . . it's the only way to go!
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Old Thursday 8th January 2009, 15:29   #22
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The camera will be end of the month - still undecided which :)
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Old Thursday 8th January 2009, 16:19   #23
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When I was there I called into one of the holiday reps offices that was on the the main seafront walk to look for any literature that might have been on hand. I found the following little gems.

Ecotouristic Map of Amvrakikos.
This map is a drawing of the whole reserve with drawings of birds that can be found at various sites around the waters edge and beyond. It has a few photos of the general area together with some descriptions about the place. Well worth having.

Amvrakikos Gulf Wetlands
A small six page brochure with photos and descriptions, some taken from the map above.

A guide for Ecotourism. River Acheron, the Narrows & the Delta

This is a cracking 30 page booklet that comes complete with photos and a full description of sites to visit along the river. Not primarily a wildlife booklet but the descriptions and photos give enough away to tell you that this is an area worth looking at.

I have kept them all just in case I decide to go back there.

John
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