A 1700 Km long Birdwatching Weekend (Part 2)

It was Saturday afternoon when we left Thessaloniki after our visit to Gallicos river delta. We arrived at my father’s village late at night after a three hours drive. During our trip we encountered very heavy rain and worried that the weather will not help us visit “Romeiko” and “Taratsa”, two of the highest plateaus of Giona Mountain as we had planned. However the weather was not bad next morning despite the thick clouds.
This time our aim wasn’t to visit the Fir tree forest located at lower altitude as was the case with our previous visit in July. This time our target was the alpine meadows located at a higher altitude. After one hour drive, the high plateaus of Giona stretched before us.
The weather was on our side again but at this point we run out of luck. There were far fewer birds than our last visit there last June. It seems that most of the birds had already left the place.

Apart from the numerous Northern Wheatears and the small groups of Tawny Pipits everything else has changed. Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes have already left for their journey to Africa. We spotted only a female individual. In addition this time we didn’t saw any Horned Larks, Alpine Choughes or any other from the “high altitude” species as we did in our previous visit there. Common Linnets had lost their fancy breeding colours and they were moving around in large groups. They were almost ready to move to lower altitudes in order avoid the cold winter weather of the mountain. The only birds of prey we saw were two Common Kestrels and one Common Buzzard.
Since there weren’t many birds around, I decided to focus on landscape photography, while Nicole decided to climb one of the neighbouring peaks of the mountain.

It was late noon when we returned to the village and we had to travel to our home in Athens later that day. Passing through the forest in our way down to the village we spotted a couple of Green Woodpeckers. We stopped for a while there, but I didn’t manage to make any decent photos. Maybe next time I will be luckier.
It was midnight when we finally arrived to our home in Athens. The 200 Km trip from the village to our home seemed to us like a joke…

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