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Birding on Zante, Greece. Anybody tried it?

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Old Sunday 6th June 2004, 23:03   #1
Rich Bonser
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Cool Birding on Zante, Greece. Anybody tried it?

All,

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


Rich Bonser
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Old Sunday 6th June 2004, 23:15   #2
Edward woodwood
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Watcha Rich

can't shed any light on Zante but i did spend a year birding (and working!) in Greece. Sure you'll have a cracking time. You can get great picnics buying stuff from small local supermarkets....amazing Feta, Olives and Salads. The Halva comes in various flavours and is wonderful and don't miss the ubiquitous cake/sweet shops and be sure to try the Loukoumi! Amstel beer was way cheap and Tsantali Ouzo is fine too. Birds pretty cool too by the way!

Enjoy it all
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Old Monday 7th June 2004, 07:11   #3
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No but I did do its neighbour, Kefalonia, and some smart birds there including Blackk headed Bunting (very common but localised) Short toed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Glossy Ibis, Alpine Swift, Rufous bush Chat, Black eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Sombre Tit, Squacco Heron, Rock Partridge, Crezchmar's Bunting, Eleonora's Falcon, Little Bittern, Red footed Falcon, Olivaceous Warbler, Lesser Grey Shrike, Broad billed Sandpiper, Scops Owl, R R Swallw, Bee-eaters, Woodchat Shrike, Wood Sandpiper, Cirl Bunting, Black ne3cked Grebe, Purple Heron, Marsh Harrier, Great grey Shrike, Hobby, Marsh Sandpiper, Bonellie's Warbler, Rock Sparrow, Rock Bunting, Curlew Sandpiper, Hoopoe, plus the most incredible sighting of them all, a Spanish Imperial Eagle.

There were many other species seen and I must admit that I put this island fairly close to the top of my list of places I would like to live as it is a beautiful island. If Zante is anything like it you should have a great time.

BTW I went from the 3rd to 17th May 1998.
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Old Monday 7th June 2004, 08:41   #4
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Birding Zante

I went to Zante a couple of years back and like you I was surprised at the lack of any avaliable information. I didn't enjoy much success on the bird front but I can point out a couple of interesting places

ALIKES- This village has a set of salt pans and looked good for waders, herons etc. It poured down the day we went so only saw little stints.little egret and kinfishers.

CAPE VASSO- Very nice beach (for the misses) this peninsula is probably good for migrants in season. Nice blue headed wagtails when I went there.

AROUND THE ISLAND CRUISE- Plenty of Corys shearwater to enjoy with a chance of Elenoras on the cliffs.

I stayed at Tsillivi which was birdless except for a tawny pipit at the back of the beach. Sorry I can't be more helpfull and I hope you find more than I did.
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Old Monday 7th June 2004, 10:58   #5
Brian Stone
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I went in October 2000 and found it relatively disappointing at that time of year. I also didn't rate the island that highly overall but that is very personal and in comparison with some sensational trips to Crete, Rhodes and Lesbos.

By far the best part of the island when I visited was the southern tip (Gerakas area).

Check out my trip list at:
http://www.brian.stone.care4free.net/zante/list.htm
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Old Monday 7th June 2004, 13:09   #6
Nick-on
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Bonser
All,

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


Rich Bonser
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.

Nick

PS Zante is also known as Zakynthos, might be a few reports filed under the alternative.
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Old Monday 7th June 2004, 13:38   #7
Janshorty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Bonser
All,

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.


Rich Bonser
I am going to Zante (Zakynthos) mid August. Hoping to see some myself. Has anybody been in August? What am I likely to get a glimpse of at that time of year?
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Old Monday 7th June 2004, 22:03   #8
Rich Bonser
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Cheers to everybody who has responded to my request. It looks like there may be a little bit of birding to be done (i.e. every day) but i'll go there with low expectations and hope for the best.

Tim's suggestion of Amstel beer and Ouzo sound the most appealing, but re-visiting some of south-east Europe's commoner species also appears to be on the cards.

Thanks again

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Old Wednesday 30th June 2004, 23:44   #9
Rich Bonser
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Thanks for all the info that people gave me for Zakynthos (Zante). As predicted, I did a fair bit of birding there last week. I've put what i saw on my website at www.freewebs.com/richbonser and then go to foreign trip reports 3 (it'll also be available on www.surfbirds.com and www.birdtours.co.uk in the near future).

Anyway, in brief, it was fairly slow with typical SE European species seen. Highlights, for me, were a couple of Eastern Orphean Warblers that showed their undertail-coverts very nicely and the ample amount of opportunities to study Scopoli's Shearwater (the nominate race/species(?) of Cory's Shearwater) both from land and at close range from a boat.

Undoubted highlight of the trip - spending the Friday evening in the island's capital when Greece beat France. What an atmosphere and one can only marvel at the way Seitoridis man-marked Henry so successfully!

Cheers again

Rich
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