Lesvos 2013

I have just returned from a 4 day visit to Lesvos island. It was one of the most successful trips I have done with George Alexandris and Michael Kotsakis.
Lesvos combines a great diversity of ecosystems (wetlands, forests, fields, rocky mountain areas etc) in a relatively limited space. As a result, a vast range of bird species can be seen there especially during migration. In addition the island is located near the Turkish coast and because of that a number of Asian wildlife species can also be spotted there. For these reasons a large number of bird watchers and nature photographers from all over the world visit the island every year. The most “famous” bird species of the island are the Kruper’s Nuthatch, the Cinereous Bunting and the White-throated Robin. In addition there are also some Asian subspecies of more common European bird species such as the atricapillus subspecies of the European Jay. Of course there is also a good number of other Asian animal species beside birds that can be found at Lesvos. The most known is the Persian squirrel (Sciurus anomalus). Lesvos is the only place in Europe this squirrel species breeds.
During our four days visit we were able to photograph almost all these species and many others that although not so rare, it is far from easy to spot them in other places like Little Crake, European Roller, Common Cuckoo, Long-legged Buzzard… the list is quite big.

The big star for this year at Lesvos island is the White-throated Robin. This species is not spotted every year; in fact there are less than 10 records for Greece including this year’s, all of them in Lesvos island. This year 2 males and a female were spotted in the Petrified Forest area near Sigri. We were there during the first days and we managed to get some pictures of a male before it is confirmed that there are more than one individual there and before the place gets too crowded.
What is even more impressive at Lesvos this time of year is the large number of people from all over the world that visit the island from mid-April to late May and share their observations with one another. It is like a big party for bird watchers and wildlife photographers, and nobody wants to miss it. There are many people visiting every year for many years now and some of them have better knowledge of the island than many of the locals!

There is so much I would like to write but time is short and Easter is coming fast… In addittion my monitor has failed on me and I did not had the chance to see all of my photos. Of course the article would not be complete without a photo of this year’s major star of the island. And since I have already posted photos of the Cinereous Bunting and the Kruper’s Nuthatch from my previous visit to Lesvos here and here, I decided to upload a photo of the atricapillus subspecies of the Eurasian Jay with the black top of the head. A species that although is common it is not so easy to photograph.

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