Spring has just officially arrived! However birdwatching in the first days of this season is always challenging as most of the winter visitors have started their journey to the north, whereas the first migrants from Africa are still on their way to Europe.
We started our trip with Ramon K.G. from Schinias National Park. The largest wetland of Attica is this year full of water, which definitely is a good sign for the birding season that begins, since migrants will easily find a good location to rest before continuing their journey to the north! And this was indeed the case this weekend as early migrants such as a Black-tailed Godwit, a Ruff and a Wood Sandpiper had just arrived and where feeding in the flooded fields of the park! However, many other species were also spotted; a cute couple of Stonechats looking for a place to breed, a male Black Redstart displaying his beautiful tail before moving to higher altitudes, a Zitting Cisticola with her unique call, a vary hasty Snipe, many Cetti’s Warblers making noise in the reeds, hundreds of Serins, Chiffchaffs, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Sardinian Warblers, a beautiful male Cirl Bunting and other!
Highlight of course the Little Owl, perching on a wire under the soft morning light. It is always a pleasure to meet her during our around Athens tours! There is indeed no better place to see and photograph the symbol of wisdom and emblem of ancient Athens!
After spending a couple of hours at the park we moved towards Rafina stream where we spotted a Little Egret fishing in the small canal near the city as well as hundreds of Black-headed Gulls flying around the small port in different plumage stages! Our next stop, the archeological site of Vravrona and the nearby wetland where we encountered 2 beautiful Mute Swans floating in the sea near the shore, very close to a fisherman who was fishing there with his stick!
As afternoon was near and the sun was taking his best position of the day, we headed towards the cape Sounio. Our target was of course the temple of Poseidon and the Chukars that can be found around. The temple during afternoon and before the sunset is always amazing. The same also for the very friendly birds that are strolling around and can give amazing images on the historical remnants of the temple! With the last light of the day, Blackcaps and Sardinian Warblers were very active, moving from one bush to another, between the visitors of the area!
The next day, we also planned an early start, as the Skala Oropos lagoon, a very interesting wetland in Attica, is about 50 minutes’ drive from the center of Athens. The lagoon is always a good place for birding and may guarantee numerous species to the visitor! Although the weather was rainy we spotted a small group of Greater Flamingos, Mute Swans, Great Crested Grebes, Pintails, Grey, Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers, many Dunlins, Redshanks and other species.
Our next targets were mountain species, and thus we drove to Parnitha mountain and the moni Kleiston which is standing at an amazing location in a small canyon! There we heard the sound of the Rock Nuthatch many times, although the strong wind made it a little bit hard to locate this very cute little bird. Of course tits and other songbirds were also spotted around the historical monastery.
Our last stop was the mountain of Ymittos. Although we are still in the very beginning of the migration and the highlights of the place have not yet arrived (Ruppell’s and Subalpine Warblers), there are still interesting species to spot, combined to the amazing view of the city of Athens from above! The Firecrest and the Jay were the last species of our list and the end of a trip that definitely gave a glance of Attica to our visitors!
Total species seen: 65
Mute Swan, Mallard, Pintail, Ferruginous Duck, Chukar, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Greater Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Kestrel, Water Rail, Coot, Grey Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Redshank, Snipe, Sandwich Tern, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Rock Nuthatch, Jay, Magpie, Hooded Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Cirl Bunting, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.