At the plateaus of mount Giona

Last weekend I visited once again mount Giona. This time I had two friends who are also engaged in wildlife photography with me, Michael Kotsakis and George Alexandris. We climbed the mountain using the familiar route from the "Prosilio" village. On the rocky slope just above the village, we saw 3 couples of Kestrel, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Nuthatch and a Common Buzzard who was immediately chased from the Hooded Crows who also nest there. Continuing our ascent to the alpine plateaus through the woods unfortunately we didn't find any Woodpecker species as we hoped. Just before we reach the "Romeiko" plateau we spotted more than 100 Alpine Choughs flying above our heads! Unfortunately once again the light was quite harsh and prevented us for getting any decent photos. In the plateau there were too many Wheatears and most were already feeding their young. We also spotted Linnets, Woodlarks, Tawny Pipits, Red-backed Shrikes, Black Redstarts and a pair of Ortolan Buntings. We stopped at the Buntings since the weather had become cloudy and the light was nice for photography. Finally we reached the "Taratsa" plateau and we managed to find a small group of 5 Horned Larks feeding in the meadows. We managed to get some pictures but it started to rain almost immediately and this spoiled our plans a bit. We decided to return home from the same route we used to climb to the mountain. The only new observation was 2-3 male Rock Thrushes but they were quite far for any close up photos. We reached to the point where the forest starts and suddenly ...surprise! Two White-backed Woodpeckers were there, a species which is quite difficult to find. In addition it was the first time that I saw them at the Giona mount. Although the light was not enough since it was late afternoon, we managed to get some decent pictures when a female came very close to us. Finally, just before we reach the "Prosilio" village we spotted a pair of Black Woodpeckers. They were near the point where I see them every time, but it was almost dark so don't expect any pictures of them this time. I hope to return again to the mountain for another visit in autumn.

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