Harriers: The spring visitors of the vineyards at Spata

Last days I wanted to write something about the small seasonal lake at Spata just beside the Athens International Airport. Thousands of migrating birds spend some days in the pond and in the area around the flooded fields. Yesterday I even saw an Osprey(!) fishing(?) there. However most of that has already been said when this pond was created for the first time after many dry years. That was two years ago (in 2011).

What has never been said is that beside all other bird species, a relatively large number of Harriers likes to use the vineyards around the flooded area to rest during their migration to the North. Of course an even larger number of Harriers uses the open fields of Athens International Airport for resting but it seems that some of them also like to visit the nearby fields outside the airport and rest on the vine trees there. Pallid and Montagu’s Harriers are not common species in Greece and the best (if not the only) chance to see them is during the spring migration period. For that reason I am trying to visit the place as often as I can these days. I can’t stay there for more than one hour but most of the times I find a cooperative Harrier and manage to get some good pictures of it.

After several visits I have come to a short path that can be done in a short time and goes through the most possible Harrier spots. Even Pallid Harriers that are normally not easy to get close to, can be easily approached during their relaxing time at the vineyards of Spata. Observing and making pictures of these harrier species has never been more easy and fun.

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