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Naxos, Sifnos and Poros, Greece - 26th July-10th August 2010

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Old Wednesday 11th August 2010, 10:50   #1
Muddy Turnstone
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Naxos, Sifnos and Poros, Greece - 26th July-10th August 2010

This was my first trip to Greece. We stayed for two weeks and visited three islands, Poros, in the Saronic Bay, Sifnos, a middle-sized island of the Cyclades, and Naxos, the biggest island in the Cyclades. I worked up a list of 51 species, while it's not so much, and I could get far more by a single birding day at home, it was after all a family holiday, and as 22 of them were lifers, I am not the one to complain!

Athens is (in my opnion) the ugliest city I have ever been too. Except from Monastiraki and Plaka I didn't like the city at all. We lived at Marina Hotel, and the first morning a mixed flock of swifts flied around outside my balcony. There were a few Common but also Pallid and a single Alpine.

On our last day there were at least a hundred Alpine Swifts around the Acropolis, and a Lesser Kestrel flied by.

Poros is a small island in the Saronic Bay. It is actually two islands connected with a short bridge. It has one nature type, coniferous forest, which covers the whole island. On my visit Poros was clean of birds, and the most exciting birds I saw was two Alpine Swifts flying around the hills close to the Poseidon Temple.

Sifnos was a much more exciting island than Poros. On the ferry from Piraeus to Sifnos I got views of two Yelkouan Shearwaters. At the beach of Kamares, the harbor town on Sifnos, were we lived, there were Cetti's Warblers, Reed Warblers and Sardinian Warblers. A group of Goldfinches was also flying by.

At Seralia Beach close to Kastro, on the east coast, I found both Keeled and Brown Skimmer. Along the road from Apollonia to Cherronissos, there were a Long-legged Buzzard, four Eleonora's Falons, a flock of Rock Doves and a single Short-toed Eagle. On the cliffs close to Cherronissos two Shags sat, and a Cory's Shearwater quickly flew by. On the hills I found a flock of seven Crested Larks along with a Darter sp.

Naxos was the last and the biggest island. Here I knew were to find the birds, thanks to David and Nikos Probonas. Aliki was a large salt pan south of Hora, were I found Little Egrets, Greater Flamingos, Kentish Plovers, Common Sandpipers and dozens of Black-winged Stilts. To the east of Aliki there was a smaller pool just along the main road, with lots of weed. Here I found Garganeys, Moorhens, Little Grebes and a Ferruginous Duck. Lesser Emperors was also common here.

South of Agios Prokopios there was a small dirt road leading to a smaller pool south-west of Aliki. The pool was dry during my visit, but I found six Stone-curlews, Little Ringed Plover and a Red-rumped Swallow.

Mount Zas, the highest mountain of Naxos, was a nice place. I didn't found any Griffon Vultures, but five Blue Rock Thrushes on the cliffs, as well as a male Cirl Bunting and two Black-eared Wheatears. Along the road to Pyrgaki a smaller pool lied, called Glyfada. Here I found two Green Sandpipers and a Stilt. At Agiassos, south-east of Pyrgaki, I finally found my Griffons, circling above the hills.

After all a very nice trip! I highly recommend Naxos, specially for a mixed family/birding holiday. Sifnos was also good, but there it was mostly luck to see something along the road. And I don't recommend Poros at all...

Complete list:

1. Little Grebe
2. Yelkouan Shearwater - L
3. Corys Shearwater - L
4. Shag - L
5. Little Egret - L
6. Grey Heron
7. Greater Flamingo - L
8. Mallard
9. Garganey
10. Ferruginous Duck - L
11. Griffon Vulture - L
12. Long-legged Buzzard - L
13. Marsh Harrier
14. Short-toed Eagle - L
15. Lesser Kestrel - L
16. Eleonora's Falcon - L
17. Common Moorhen
18. Eurasian Coot
19. Black-winged Stilt -L
20. Eurasian Stone-curlew - L
21. Ringed Plover
22. Little Ringed Plover
23. Kentish Plover
24. Common Sandpiper
25. Green Sandpiper
26. Eurasian Curlew
27. Black-headed Gull
28. Yellow-legged Gull - L
29. Rock Dove - L
30. Feral Dove
31. Eurasian Collared Dove
32. Common Swift
33. Pallid Swift - L
34. Alpine Swift - L
35. Crested Lark
36. Barn Swallow
37. Red-rumped Swallow - L
38. House Martin
39. Blue Rock Thrush - L
40. Northern Wheatear
41. Black-eared Wheatear - L
42. Cetti's Warbler - L
43. Reed Warbler
44. Sardinian Warbler - L
45. Magpie
46. Hooded Crow
47. House Sparrow
48. Green Finch
49. Goldfinch
50. Chaffinch
51. Cirl Bunting - L

List of Dragonflies
1. Lesser Emperor - L
2. Keeled Skimmer - L
3. Brown Skimmer - L
4. Whiteface sp.
5. Darter sp.
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Last edited by Muddy Turnstone : Wednesday 11th August 2010 at 10:55. Reason: Added Lifer Marks
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Old Wednesday 11th August 2010, 17:19   #2
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Thanks for the report - info is hard to find on the smaller Greek islands.
Favourite birds:- Pallid Harrier, Hen Harrier, Gyrfalcon, Great Grey Owl, Snowy Owl, Wryneck, Blue-Cheeked Bee-eater, Sib Rubythroat, Firecrest, Redstart, Hawfinch, Bearded Tit, Smew, GN & BT Diver, Pom Skua, Warblers especially colourful American ones.
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Old Thursday 12th August 2010, 16:50   #3
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Naxos, Sifnos and Poros, Greece - 26th July-10th August 2010

Some neat birds there, especially for the time of year.
Thanks for posting
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Old Sunday 15th August 2010, 07:10   #4
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Nice report; re. Alpine Swifts in Athens, the best views I've had are on the way up to the top of Lykavittos hill, north of the Acropolis, where they pretty much fly past your head!
A better bet in the Saronic for birds is Aegina rather than Poros; some good walking around the hills/mountains beyond the conifers and some nice birds there. I've also seen Yelkouan Shearwater on the crossing from Piraeus.
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Old Monday 16th August 2010, 14:23   #5
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Thanks for the replies! I don't know why, but I can't edit the Open post, so I post a few things here I would like to correct.

The Brown skimmer should be Southern skimmer, and the Darter sp. was a Red-veined darter. (I have bought a new book )
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