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Rhodes, Greece 28/8/2010 - 8/9/2010

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Old Thursday 9th September 2010, 05:40   #1
wolfbirder
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Wolves
Posts: 6,279
Rhodes, Greece 28/8/2010 - 8/9/2010

BACKGROUND

A family holiday was taken for eleven nights at Rhodes, the largest of the Greek chain of Dodecanese islands. It lies just off the Turkish coast, and has a chequered history with Turkish and Italian influence clearly visible within its fascinating buildings. Rhodes is possibly my favourate place, history buffs will simply love the medieval 'old town' within huge castle walls, containing winding alleys and streets, as well as historical sites scattered around the island such as Monte Smith (on outskirts of Rhodes Town and containing plenty of scrub that is said to be good during migration), Ancient Kamiros, Kalithea Piges ('Piges' meaning Spa), Lindos with its acropolis, Siana (honey making village), Monolithos, Kritinia and Feraklos Castles. However, I believe that many will not have a great holiday here, litter and inadequate rubbish collection remains a problem, and road improvements at present from Rhodes Town to Lindos certainly do not enhance the appearance of the island. Some of the resorts have little charm such as Faliraki, Afandou, and Ixia/Trianda. But if you choose location and accommodation carefully, and use a hire car to see the island properly, I think you are likely to fall in love with the place! Though the heat can be stifling for the bulk of the day at this time of year. We were based just outside Rodos (Rhodes Town) at Aldemar Paradise Mare hotel at Kalithea, ideal for visiting Rhodes old town and its delights, as well as getting away to bird. Taxi into Rhodes cost 8-10 euros, the bus just two euros. I hired a Nissan Micra from Kalithea-rent-a-car for seven days for 150 euros (including all insurances), and it was ideal to get around and it dealt with all the rough tracks I took, although care was taken navigating them at times. You have to consider whether underbody damage is likely at all times. There are so many car rentals around you could pick and choose on arrival.

WEATHER

For the entire duration the weather was sunny and hot and daily temperatures were around 25-30C - too hot for birding except early morning or the evening! Still, humid weather for a few days would often be followed by windy but still very hot weather. The west coast facing Turkey is said to be far windier than the east coast. After a long hot summer, virtually all the river beds were more or less dried up, and grass bore a brown, weathered look, so I strongly recommend a spring visit late April, or late September when birding would be far more productive.
I believe a spring visit would be better for species like Cretzschmar's Bunting which I believe I was just too late to connect with.

BIRDING

There is a relative paucity of bird information for Rhodes, probably because like me, most visitors find the island unproductive during the arid, dry summer months. Huge areas of both pine forest and scrub / marquis seem to offer great possibilities, but when you are trying to locate one of approximately 30 pairs of Ruppell's Warbler (for example) on the island you have little chance. Huge areas seemed entirely birdless! A few reports do offer some promise. Best of all is Jos Rutten's superb and detailed report collated over years. Worthy of a book publication in it own right! Really commendable ! He emailed me his work, complete with maps, which I found invaluable. I am sure he will forward you his latest version if requested. I found birding very difficult at this time of year, but I managed to etch out some good birds. Either way, the scenery was good.

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BIRDS AND LOCATIONS

I have split reports into key areas along east and west coast. My main birding day covering all points was undertaken on 5/9. But you can see I had to rush around, which does not really give each location enough coverage or do the sites full justice. Good maps of Rhodes are not too easy to find, I purchased from Amazon, "Road Editions" Map 202 of Rhodes, 1-90:000 scale. This was more than adequate, used in conjunction with Jos's detailed bird site maps.

EAST COAST

SITE ONE - ALDEMAR PARADISE MARE HOTEL, KALITHEA - several Red-Rumped Swallows seen more or less daily, as well as House Martins, Swallows, Swifts, a couple of Pallid Swifts, Crag Martin, Sand Martin, House Sparrows, Hooded Crows and Collared Doves commonplace. Single Blackbird. 12 Little Egrets over hotel 1/9. Single Willow Warbler 31/8. Sea-watching produced a few YL Gulls and 2 Cory's Sheawater's (undoubtedly there were more though). A 'swirl' of 20 Honey Buzzards overhead was a highlight on 6/9, and few Long-Legged Buzzards (upto 3) were occasionally seen overhead.

SITE TWO - KALITHEA SPA AND PINES, KOSKINOU QUARRY - these two locations lie adjacent to each other, but are seperated by the coast road from Rodos to Faliraki. Easily accessable from the latter. Kalithea Spa (signposted 'Kalithea Piges') is a lovely location, but not really good for birds. However on 7/9, 8-10 Honey Buzzards flew very low over the Spa, I guess having been caught out by winds crossing from Turkey. I enjoyed my best ever views of these raptors as they flew just above my head with mouths open as they panted. Adjacent to the Spa is a set of pine woods said by Jos to be good for Cretzschmar's Bunting. You can drive through the pines as three small coves can be accessed from them. I could only find House Sparrows. The pines are seperated from the coast road by black metal railings which stretch for a few hundred metres. Halfway along on the inward side is an obvious turn that leads upto KOSKINOU QUARRY. This access point seems better to me than the other one suggested by Jos, a mile back towards Kalithea. This was in effect my local patch whilst here, and I visited several times. As Jos rightly says, the area has diminished in terms of ornithologial interest due to landfill, dumping, and some new house builds. The quarry appears to be no longer active as a working quarry. The pre-mentioned access track off the main coast road by the Spa immediately leads uphill, along this first stretch I usually found 2-3 Red-backed Shrikes, Crested Larks, and on one occasion 3 Whinchats. After a few hundred metres, the track bears further uphill to the right. You can explore the area at the top by the quarry but I found it devoid of birds. On 31/8 I had 2 Lesser kestrels and a female Sparrowhawk overhead at this point. The track to the right leads past a few olive trees where I usually found a few Northern Wheatears and a Hoopoe, on past 2-3 new built houses containing large dogs! I had a pair of Spanish Wagtails on the lawn of this house. The track continues onto a small chapel. Birding between the few houses and the chapel always produced Crested Larks, but the area is degraded here and sadly strewn with litter. The track then leads down hill to Kalithea and Koskinou villages (the access point recommended by Jos). Just potter about, it's very straightforward but do beware of dogs at houses.

SITE THREE - AFANDOU - the next resort along the east coast. This coastal area includes much scrub, grassland, river, and a golf course which is worthy of exploration, although as Jos states this area has diminished in terms of interest. Could be good at times of migration though I spent little time here, only noting Hooded Crows on the golf course and no passerines except House Sparrows. Pipits and other birds may well favour the golf course during migration. The main road at Afandou (connecting Rodos and Lindos) is currently undergoing much improvement into a dual carriage way, but several turn offs down to Afandou Beach and Traganau Beach can be taken. So the area is easily accessable, but this is not my favourate area.

* Near to Afandou, nearer to Kolymbia infact, is a turning inland for "Epta Piges" (Seven Springs). This is a popular tourist spot, but early morning the woods here may be productive. Chaffinches abound, and Ravens croak overhead. Peacocks & Muscovey Ducks are by the stream, and I had my only Wren of the trip here, as well as hearing but not seeing a possible Ortolan's Bunting.

SITE FOUR - STEGNA BEACH - this is signposted off the main Rodos - Lindos coast road just before the small town of Archangalos, and is recommended for Cretzschmar's Bunting by Jos. Infact the decline though rocky hillsides just before the beach is the key area. I observed the crags from a few pull-over points at 6am on a big birding day for me (on 5/9). The habitat looked superb but I could only find House Sparrow flocks. Come earlier in the year however, & I am sure this area would be productive. I also noted a Peregrine being hassled by a Hooded Crow in this area, but I was driving on the main road at the time.

SITE FIVE - HARAKI AND FERAKLOS CASTLE - continuing southwards on 5/9 along the main coast road, the next turn off I took was along side the dry Haraki River a couple of kms to Feraklos Castle. A left turn quickly takes you to the castle. This stretch produced several Blue Tits, Sardinian Warbler, and a couple of Red-Backed Shrikes & a Blue Rock Thrush below the castle. A Nightingale was in sub-song here. I did not climb up to the castle but checked out the scrub around its base. Haraki (sometimes spelt Charaki) bay and village was also checked out briefly, again a Nightingale was heard but not seen, & Blackbird and Red-Backed Shrike were located. I did not check out the dry river bed here as it lay too far away from the road.

SITE SIX - RIVER GADOURAS - this is a key birding area approximately half way betwen Archangalos and Lindos. A fading 'Gadouras River' sign tells you you are at it as you progress on the coast road between Rodos and Lindos. You may not even realise you are on a river bridge, as unlike many English river bridges, it just takes the road straight across as opposed to a slight incline. As with most rivers here however, driveable tracks can be taken along side it, ideal for investigation from the car. But take care here when turning off or on, as it is a fast stretch of main road. The river was more or less dried up except by the bridge. I drove down the track on the northward side of the bridge down to the river mouth at the sea. Again, Red-Backed Shrikes & Crested Larks were prominant with several of each being seen, as well as a single Northern Wheatear. The area at the mouth contained tall, blanket reedbed but although a few things were flitting around, it was frustrating in the strong breeze. Back by the bridge, I took the track to a factory on the inland southern side, just for a few metres. A flock of Linnets may have contained a few juvenile Cretzschmar's Buntings. But they were flightly. I am sure a couple had white eye-rings and lack of white in wings. The upperparts were House Sparrow-like and they had faintly streaked underparts and slightly greyer head. Very frustrating! There were plenty of larks by the bridge, and when I returned later in the day, a Rufous Tailed Scrub Robin flew in front of me before disappearing fom view. Jos highlights the area around the bridge as being good for this species, with 2-3 pairs usually present or breeding.

SITE SEVEN - KOPRIA GORGE - just few hundred metres after the Gadouras River Bridge, a sharp right turn almost back on your self should be taken. You cannot see the signpost which I think says Kamiri monastery in Greek, as it can only be viewed approaching from the Lindos direction, all you see is the back of the small signpost! This long straight road has a few serious potholes at one stretch. Continue for about a mile (very approximately) until you reach a pretty, magnolia coloured bridge. Take a track to the left immediately after it. This area by the river can be very productive. I had Eleonora's Falcon, 2 Long-Legged Buzzards, & 4 Red-rumped Swallows. Also said to be good for Rufous Tailed Scrub Robin by this bridge. The track then winds gradually uphill for around a mile until it terminates at a small monastery, where I turned the car around. A female Sparrowhawk was seen hunting through the gorges. This area is excellent and must be productive at a better time of year. It comes highly recommended in a few reports. I spent an hour here on my main day trip but it merits longer.

I skipped LINDOS (where I saw Alpine Swift at the acropolis in a previous visit), as well as LARDOS. Both these areas merit fuller attention but are quite well documented. The Lardos-Laerma road was also ommitted today due to time restraints (on 5/9), though rocky outcrops along this road are also said to be good for Cretzschmar's Bunting, and a new reservoir is accessable from this same road but you will need precise directions from Jos.

SITE EIGHT - GENADI RIVER MOUTH - a very brief visit to the obvious dried-up river bed in this small village on 5/9, was unproductive in the increasing morning heat. The river mouth scrub by the sea is said to contain Olive-Tree Warbler, but I only spent twenty minutes here and only found Crested Larks.

SITE NINE - GENADI-KATAVIA - on 5/9 it was now late morning as I progressed along the east coast. The area just inland of Plimiri Beach area is recommended by Jos, but I only stopped and birded along the main coast road where birds were noted. Upto 5 Woodchat Shrikes and a few Kestrels were noted close to the road. This is a lovely, quiet area in it's own right.

SITE TEN - KATAVIA - PRASONISI - at mid-day on 5/9 it was never going to be great. As I approached the village of Katavia, the road passes to the left of the village, then the left turn for Prasonisi is quickly signposted. But infact just metres before the signposted turn, you can take a mud-baked track acoss fields and scrub that 'can' contain larks and buntings such as Black-headed Buntings. Just potter around, the tracks lead back to Katavia village. At this time of day I only found a few hunting Kestrels, but earlier in the year this area could be very productive. The drive from Katavia to the southerly tip at Prasonisi passes huge areas of scrub and maquis over gentle rolling hills for several km's. This area can be good for harriers during migration according to Jos. You can stop and bird but the road gets busy with day trippers and wind surfers going to the famous sandbank (at the extreme southern tip of the island) seperating the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. Just a hundred metres before you wind down to the beach, you can pull over on your left and take a track for a few hundred metres on the lower slopes of Mount Oros, that contained many Sardinian Warblers. I hoped for possible Ruppell's Warbler here but knew my chances were low. Any southern facing slopes can be good for this species, and I have seen photos of them at castles such as Feraklos and Kritinia. I also had Tawny Pipit, Redstart, Red-backed Shrike and Blue Rock Thrush here.

WEST COAST

A single Corn Bunting and several Ravens were seen as I progressed along the west coastal road heading back northwards between Katavia and my next port of call.

SITE ELEVEN - APOLOKIA RESERVOIR - I hoped that early afternoon would be ideal as birds would be attracted to the reservoir, a key source of freshwater on the island. Access is not easy from the village of Apolokia - small and 'easy to miss' signs saying "Dam" are where you should take the track for 2-3 km's towards the reservoir, but again these small signs are not on both sides of the road. There is a sign just east of the village on the road to Genadi, and one just north of the village on the road to Monolithos. If you take this second track ensure you turn left again after a just a few hundred metres onto the reservoir access road. No sign tells you to turn left again, but if you do not and you head straight on, you will simply end up on the main road to Genadi. Alternatively, you can also access the reservoir from the northern end, directly from the pretty honey-making village of Siana. We stopped at Siana and had lunch at one of the restaurants by the pretty little church. As you leave the village of Siana heading south, just past the last house on the village high street, you take an unmarked turn on your left, just 20-30 metres from a signposted turn to the right for Monolithos. Jos suggested this road had sections that were difficult to drive on, but it has now obviously been tarmacced all the way to the reservoir (approx 3-5 km's). The elevated track is a little rough alongside the reservoir but perfectly driveable with care. So you can visit the reservoir from Siana to Apolokia village or vice versa. I had Jay & 2 Turtle Doves from the access roads. Check the scrub and gulley at the dam end as Squacco Heron can be found here apparently. And the small cliff ledges by the dam can produce Cretzschmar's Bunting in season. The driveable, elevated track then runs along the western side, with a few gaps allowing views over the water. Jos describes this site as excellent and ever improving. It was generally quiet on my visit, though halfway long I noted falcons bathing on the opposite side, and indeed I was able to scope 10 Eleonora's Falcons bathing in the water, and then circling, offering excellent views as they came to observe me. Indeed Jos states that there is a roost for these birds and Lesser Kestrels on the cliffs above the track. I also had superb views of a pale phase Long-Legged Buzzard that circled just above my head. Care distinguishing between these birds and juvenile Bonelli's Eagle should be taken, both can possess similar underwing pattern and colouration. Long-legged Buzzards are surprisingly long-winged birds, and the bird I saw dwarfed the Eleonora's Falcon's that also came to inspect me. My bird guide suggests wingspan of this Buzzard species is 155cm's, the eagle 170cm's. So the difference is not too great! The scrub and gully at the northern end may be good for warblers in season.

SITE TWELVE - MOUNT ATAVIROS - From Apolokia Reservoir, I drove onto Siana and then continued northwards on the west coast road past Monolithos. Monolithos Castle is worth the short detour - wow what views ! Kritinia Castle (a further ten-fifteen km's northwards) is also worth a visit for the view. I found a Spotted Flycatcher nearby, and others have had Orphean and Ruppell's Warbler on the approach roads and on the castle slopes. Between these two castle ruins was my last location of the day- I spent two hours at Mount Ataviros. On the coast road beween Monolithos and Kritinia you will see a right hand turn signposted "Embonas". Take this but then immediately take a right turn up a lane signposted "Mount Ataviros". After a short fairly steep uphill drive, the road levels out and goes through quite beautiful pine and oak woods, that look ideal for Orphean Warbler. I could just find Blue Tit & 3 Chiffchaffs, but through a clearing I enjoyed clear views of an adult Bonelli's Eagle. The pine woods end and the track continues upwards through open hillside. Jos had 4 territorial 'calling' Cretzschmar's Buntings in late April this year within the first few hundred metres of the open hillside. Sadly for me I think they had all departed. I continued on the upward, winding tracks upto the windmill farm. The track is rough in sections, but driveable with care. Another Bonell's Eagle and a Long-Legged Buzzard showed, as well a female Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. I saw many Stonechats, Black-eared Wheatear, a few Northern Wheatear's, Sardinian Warbler, & Crested Larks. I then drove on past the windmills where the road improves again, to the highest point at Agios Joannis, a radar dome marks the peak. A few Northern Wheatear's & surprisingly 2 Red-Backed Shrikes were near the peak. At this time of day (late afternoon) birding here was superb, & I would spend at least half a day here if I returned, fully investigating both the woods and the mountainsides.

* An alternative site with similar species is the nearby peak at Profitias Ilias, where similar birds including Lanner are possible. Jos reckons although Lanner do not nest annually on Rhodes, between 1-3 pairs have been known to, & these two sites probably offer the best opportunities.

SITE THIRTEEN - ANCIENT KAMIROS - not a renowned birding site, but try to visit before the hordes of coaches arrive. This is a wonderful hillside location of great interest historically. We spent an hour here, noting Lesser Kestrel and Sardinian Warbler. Very atmospheric.

SITE FOURTEEN - RIVER MOUTHS AT KREMASTI AND PARADISI - these two river mouths lie at opposite ends of Rhodes Airport, but I combined a late afternoon visit on 4/9. The most famous is KREMASTI, which runs under a pretty bridge at the northern end of the airport just before Kremasti village. However, at this time of year the rivers are quite dry and surrounded by blanket tall reedbed. House Sparrows abound but I could find little else here. Both areas are said to be good for Little Crakes & waders. You can just park by the bridge, but infact you can also drive 'under' the southernmost arch of the bridge and follow the track a few hundred metres down to the beach, where you will find an old derelict Greek Army tank. You may be able to peek into the reedbed here but sadly most rivers are strewn with rubbish! Bizarrely, I encounted a naked Greek fisherman here, who seemed none too bothered about concealing his 'dangly' bits, which worried me a little. However, I had a reality check, and it dawned on me that if 25 million English women generally found me unattractive, then why on earth would this 'hairy-arsed' Greek chap have any intentions! A pretty young Greek woman then walked along with her dog, and he quickly put his shorts on! PARADISI RIVER is situated just south of the airport, perhaps about a mile past the end of the runway. The bridge is unremarkeable and is signposted as you pass it from one direction, though the signpost is badly faded! Keep your eyes peeled as you could be over it and past it without even realising! Again there are infact drivable tracks on either side of the bridge and river. A Greenfinch was seen as I drove on the track on the south side of the bridge down to the sea, but infact the best track was on the north side of the bridge driving inland! Swinging, large reeds initially appear to partially block access a little bit on this track, but they are no problem. Just before the track takes a left turn away from the river, stop by a farm building, and check the gap in the reeds to your right where you can overlook ponds. Jos says says this is a Great Snipe roost site, but at this time of year the pools were virtually stagnant and devoid of birds. In the excellent shrub and olive groves over the next few hundred metres I had female Cuckoo, Red-backed Shrike, & a superb Roller that showed well. The track ends at a village, and a left turn on the country lane soon takes you back to the main coast road.

SITE FIFTEEN - MOUNT FILERIMOS (PHILERIMOS) - a superb hillside location accessed from the main coast road at Ialysos, close to Rhodes Town. A road leads uphill through wooded hillside to 'ancient Ialysos'. From the car park you can either pay to go into the old ancient site, or alternatively walk along a straight path to the right for 400 metres to a huge crucifix that is accessed via a spiral staircase. The view from the top is superb, in a short spell here I only had Ravens and Common Buzzard, but I have enjoyed excellent views of Peregrine as well when I last came to Rhodes. Chaffinches and Peacocks abound. But the site is not a top birding site but like Ancient Kamiros it is a good spot to visit, especially early morning or in the evening.

SITE SIXTEEN - MARITSA - KALYTHIES - this mountainside site is not mentioned by Jos, and I am not quite sure whether it is Mount Aghios Eleousas or Mount Metamofesi Sotiros, though by following directions it is easily accessable. This site lies on neither coast but it is quickly accessable by car from Rodos/Faliraki, and is accessed 'from' the main road running across the island from Rhodes Airport to the east coast. On a map this road is obvious. From the airport instead of heading for Rodos Town it is the main road directing you to Faliraki and Lindos. I accessed the area from this road, from my east coast base three times (the opposite direction than from the airport). From this east coast direction, the very moment this main road 'first' becomes seperated by a central reservation, a left-hand 'unsignposted' turn was immediately taken via a slip road in the centrel reservation, heading southwards off the main road (this turn-off is about a km east of the Bee Museum, which is signposted). An army camp lies immediately by the road after you take the turn off, just after a narrow bridge. Just carry on past it, and check out the hillside scrub and then carry on past two gravel-winning / quarrying factories. Ignoring a single downward left hand turn, I drove on upward to the right after the second factory, for about half a mile until you reach some pines where I turned around. This stoney hillside area here reminded me a bit of Koskinou Quarry but there were no houses and no people around. A few tracks to the right of the road (west side) were investigated, just about driveable but with great care. Over three visits in the early evening I found a few good birds in this general area, but like elsewhere it was still hard going. I found 2 Short-toed Larks, Isabelline Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, a unidentified finch (light angle was so poor for any colouration), Blue Rock Thrush, Long-Legged Buzzard, Stonechat, and of course Crested Larks. This area is favoured by many Ravens, and I also observed a large falcon that I thought may be Lanner, but again the light angle defeated me during my brief flight view.

If you get a copy of Jos Rutten's work, you will see he details over 30 worthwhile birding sites, I visited about half of his recommended areas.

Total bird list :

Cory's Shearwater x 2
Little Egret x 14
Grey Heron x 1
Honey Buzzard x 30
Sparrowhawk x 3
Common Buzzard x 1
Long-Legged Buzzard x 10 approx
Bonelli's Eagle x 2
Lesser Kestrel x 3
Kestrel x 4
Eleonora's Falcon x 11
Peregrine Falcon x 1
Yellow-Legged Gull x 30 approx
Rock Dove x 20 approx
Collared Dove x 200 approx
Turtle Dove x 2
Cuckoo x 1
Common Swift x 15 approx
Pallid Swift x 3
Roller x 1
Hoopoe x 2
Short-toed Lark x 2
Crested Lark x 200 approx
Crag Martin x 5
Swallow x 20 approx
Red-rumped Swallow x 10 approx
House Martin x 10 approx
Tawny Pipit x 2
Black-headed Wagtail x 2
Wren x 1
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin x 1
Redstart x 1
Whinchat x 4
Stonechat x 12 approx
Isabelline Wheatear x 1
Northern Wheatear x 10 approx
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear x 3
Blue Rock Thrush x 4
Blackbird x 4
Sardinian Warbler x 15 approx
Chiffchaff x 3
Willow Warbler x 2
Spotted Flycatcher x 1
Blue Tit x 8
Red-backed Shrike x 30 approx
Woodchat Shrike x 5
Jay x 2
Hooded Crow x 300 approx
Raven x 40 approx
House Sparrow x 500 approx
Chaffinch x 30 approx
Greenfinch x 1
Linnet x 10 approx
Corn Bunting x 1

*Heard only - Nightingale x 2 / possible 1 Ortolan Bunting.

Also saw a pair of possible juvenile Cretzschmar's Buntings.

A miserly total of 55 species.

Mammals -one dead Pine Martin by roadside at Prasonisi. Pond Terrapins at River Kremasti. 4 lizards seen, at hotel a small Mediterranean House gecko was seen. Unidentified lizards include a small blackish one with distinct reddish eyebrow at Koskinou quarry, a small striped one on road at entrance to Mount Ataviros (stripes were 'across' the body), & a large lizard with long, heavy tail on rocks near windmills at Mount Ataviros. Any help anyone?

The report will not make rivvetting reading, but I do hope it helps those who visit in future. Again, let me stress, birding was hard going but you need to put the hours in to get rewards. Sightings were often too sporadic to make generalisation about what can be seen at sites, but nevertheless it gives you an idea. If you do go to Rhodes, do contact Jos Rutten and try to get a copy of his work emailed to you. Spring and autumn may be far more rewarding.
__________________
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.

Last edited by wolfbirder : Friday 10th September 2010 at 04:42.
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Old Saturday 11th September 2010, 11:45   #2
pratincol
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Sounds like hard work!
Went to Halki a few years ago, just across the sea to Rhodes.Another world.
One of the most unspoilt places I have ever been to.
I compiled a bird report which is copied below.
The island is so underdeveloped there was a thriving birdlife undisturbed by humans.Not diverse but certainly plentiful.
Have you ever tried Morrocco?We used to go for family holidays at Easter.The birdlife is staggering.
All the best.



Bird watching on Halki, Greece, Mark Graham


Halki is a small Island Approximately 10 miles long and 5 miles wide. It is about an hour and a quarter from Rhodes.The Island is very rocky with sea cliffs and not easily accessed coves.There is a sufficient tree and shrub cover to provide a habitat for a good number of birds whilst the lack of disturbance in the hills and along the coast has resulted in a surprisingly good quantity and variety of birds as well as reptiles dragonflies and butterflies.

The holiday was arranged through Laskarina who I would recommend to anyone. Although not specifically a bird watching holiday there was sufficient interest and variety to make this a very enjoyable destination for the average bird watcher.There is virtually no traffic on the one road that runs the lenghth of the island

Birds seen between 24 August and 31st August 2005

Audouins Gull- 2 seen regularly in harbour. One seen near Katrina and another on rocky islet past Aliminia on return ferry trip.

Yellow legged Gull- Up to 8 seen most days including one regular on building at edge of Emborio.

Med Shearwater- Up to 10 seen every day from Katania or from end of Emborio bay.

Eleanora Falcon- 2 seen at dusk on most days over island opposite Emborio Bay.2 seen near Castle one day.

Shag- one juvenile near entrance to Emborio bay.

Cormorant -5 on rocky islet just past Aliminia on return ferry trip home

Little Egret- one stranded on above rocky islet.

Olivacious Warblers- numerous and widespread on Katania road and up to Chorio.

Willow warblers- similar to Olivacious Warblers.

Sardinian Warbler- same as above warblers.

Chaffinch- one seen on road to Chorio.

Red Back Shrike- Numerous and widespread especially on road to Katania.

Raven- 5 seen most days on way to Katania

Jackdaw- common

Yellow Wagtail- Up to 10 seen most days from shingle beach beyond Potamos beach.

Pied wagtail- common

Grey Heron- one seen beyond Potamos beach

Kingfisher- regular sighting flying across area in front of shingle beach beyond Potamos beach.

Little Owl- regular sighting near water tanks

Spotted Flycatcher- up to 10 seen along road to Chorio.Hoopoe- 2 seen on left of Chorio road on way to Chorio just past cement works.

Whinchat- regular sighting on right of road up to Chorio near church.

Nortern Wheatear -Several sightings

Other bird’s seen-
Rock Doves, Feral Pigeons, Collared Doves,

House Sparrows. All common and widespread.



Cory Shearwater seen on crossing to Rhodes.

Last edited by pratincol : Saturday 11th September 2010 at 11:52.
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Old Saturday 11th September 2010, 12:52   #3
wolfbirder
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Hi Mark

Was hard work but my report probbly does not do the island justice. I only spent short periods at each location. I thought about Chalki/Halki but really the holiday was a family holiday and I also had elderly parents with me. I gather Bonelli's Eagle 'may' breed on Halki some years.

I do love Rhodes though, even if there are clearly better places. Morocco does indeed sound interesting.
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Old Saturday 11th September 2010, 16:17   #4
MKinHK
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Ten Eleonora's Falcons bathing sounds like an amazing sight.
Cheers
Mike
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Old Saturday 11th September 2010, 16:59   #5
wolfbirder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKinHK View Post
Ten Eleonora's Falcons bathing sounds like an amazing sight.
Cheers
Mike
I quite agree Mike - certainly was a highlight. Beautiful birds they are. It was stifling hot so I nearly joined them!
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