Originally Posted by Rich Bonser
I'm off to the Greek island of Zante in a couple of weeks (with my girlfriend) but will obviously be trying to squeeze in as much birding as possible during the week long trip.
Hence i have searched the web in vain for info on this island and birding. Does anybody have any info on this destination?
P.S. I have found plenty of info on Greek birding but this particular destination appears devoid of birding info! That's probably why my girlfriend decided she wanted to go there...
Cheers in advance
Had 2 weeks at the beginning of May 4 years ago staying at Alykes, (or Alikes) which is Greek for salt pans apparently. Despite just catching the end of the migration it was still quite quiet, managed about 85 species in total. I imagine it will be very quiet in late June with only the breeding birds left.
Chose Alykes because of the salt pans and birding potential (3+Squacco, Broad-billed S'piper, both Stints, Gt R Warbler-although no reedbeds- Ruff, Red T Pipit, Wood, Curlew and Green Sand amongst them). Apparently the salt pans are not used anymore and are in danger of being built on however some of them do usually contain water (to keep the dust down according to some locals). Apart from Alykes and it's salt pans decent birding spots were few and faw between although we did have a (probable) Lesser Spotted Eagle in the hills just above Alykes for the 2 wks we were there (?) and most of the olive groves had a selecion of warblers, including Icterine. If you do decide to visit the salt pans get there early as there is a lot of disturbance.
The only other good site was about 3 miles N of Alykes. Follow the track that goes above the monastery for a mile or so until you reach a small plateau, then follow another half mile until a second, higher, plateau is reached. birds seen en-route and on the plateaus included Subalpine and Orphean W, ST Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Eleanora's F, Black-eared wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Marsh Harrier, Blue Rock Thrush, Golde Oriole, Black-headed Bunting...also Pallid and Alpine Swifts. Although some were obviously on migration it should still be a reasonable walk (birdwise) and will keep you fit as most of it is pretty steep.
We did travel all over the island but nowhere else stood out (apart from Kalamaki, and that was for the turtles, bes place to see Turtles in the Med - according to the local boat owner!). On the downside, apart from the limited birding potential, there was a considerable amount of shooting, mainly Turtle doves but other birds as well (the Glossy Ibis had a damaged wing!).
All in all it wasn't a bad holiday (kept the family happy) not on a par with Lesbos, but then where is?
If you want any more info let me know.
PS Zante is also known as Zakynthos, might be a few reports filed under the alternative.