18th to 25th April 2012 Rhodes, Greeece

Posted: May 8, 2012 in Bird Watching, Rochdale, Rossendale, Twitching
Tags: ,

A week’s family holiday staying at Mitsis Rodos Maris Hotel in Kiotari. Hired a small car for 3 days at a cost of 90 Euros. The hotel is very smart and staff are very friendly and I can really recommend it. A recent hurricane in Turkey had caused lots of damage to the coastal habitat and not one single species of “wader” was seen. Most of the river beds that empty into the sea are dry with only very small pools apparent.With migration being underway I was surprised that I didnt see more species, but it was very enjoyable nonetheless.

18th April

Kiotari area around hotel. 14 species seen including a Corys Shearwater passing close inshore after a heavy downpour.

19th April

Kiotari area with a morning walk straight out from the hotel and up a steep hill towards a radio tower, a dissused clay pigeon shooting building, the walk went in the general direction of Asklipio.

9 more species added with 2 Chukar seen really well on the ground and in flight,a single Tawny Pipit perched on top of the clay pigeon building and good views of Long-legged Buzzard and a pair of Short-toed Eagles.

20th April

First day of car hire, a Peugeot 107, with family with us we headed for Lindos first stopping for fuel in Lardos and seeing 4 Blue Rock Thrush behind the petrol station. We did the walk to “The Tomb of Kleoboulos” in Lindos, its a bit tricky underfoot but the birding is good! Eastern Black-eared Wheatear were calling from most of the availiable rock perches, Crag Martins, Whinchat and Stonechat. My family then headed for the ruins in Lindos town and I headed up to the main road and began to scan the rocks. After a while a group of 7 Lesser Kestrels began hunting together quite a sight! Then 3 Alpine Swift appeared in with some hirundines. Then a strange alarm call was heard and there sat on a roadside fence were 2 Cretzschmar`s Bunting, both males, both freshly arrived. They were in stunning plummage, the birds then sat on the power lines uttering snatches of song and allowed a closer inspection. A first for me and not a single other bird of this species were seen in the rest of my holiday! We headed for Rhodes Town to do the tourist bit and 4 Crag Martins were seen alongside the old town walls.We then called in at a dissused quarry just north of Kalathos, a site I visited later also,a Yellow Wagtail, Short-toed Lark and Zitting Cisticola were seen.

21st April

After doing my homework about birdwatching in Rhodes back in the UK I had worked out a route to take on my day on my own. I intended to visit the more mountain areas around Profilia, Istrios and Monolithos to search for more Cretzschmar`s Buntings but as there was very low cloud around these areas this was not much use, but Blackbird and a few Chaffinch were added. Next place was the best area on Rhodes to birdwatch, Apolakkia Dam. It is reached by watching out for a sign in the village of Apolakkia which reads “To the Dam”; its about 3 KM and passes through a flat area of fields with lots of Turtle Doves. The dam is then infront of you. Do not head up the right hand end (easterly) towards a water activity centre as you will miss the best area, drive along the dam wall to the west and begin climbing with the reservoir on your right. The road becomes rougher as the tarmac ends but is perfectly navigable! Keep stopping and looking down on the reservoir a telescope is preferable here. As the road heads downhill you will reach the end of the water area, Cetti`s Warbler, Reed Warbler and Nightingale all in this part. You must take your time at Apolakkia as this is an area were birds call in to feed etc. Peregrine, Hobby, Sparrowhawk all just called in as I watched the area. I then headed down the west coast heading for Kattavia and then Prassonissi and saw my first Red-rumped Swallows of the trip. Calling in at a couple of likely habitats on the way but not seeing anything of note. The road out to Prassonissi really looked the part but held very little apart from a few Northern Wheatears, Crested Lark, Whinchat. A call into Plimmiri also looked good with a huge flock of House Sparrows whirrling around whilst a couple of Short-toed Eagles searched for food.

22nd April

A trip to the “Butterfly Valley”, which was closed when we got there, revealed Booted and Short-toed Eagles, but on the way back, I saw a small bird of prey sat on a telegraph pole up a small valley between Kata Kalomas and the airport and went to investigate, it was a Kestrel, but on the wires were sat 3 Rock Buntings! After dropping my family of, I headed for the rocky area around Lardos and soon was watching a male Orphean Warbler as it sung a few very Nightingale like phrases, what a cracking bird that was! Lots of Chukars, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and Tree Pipits in the area. I then visited the dissused quarry north of Kalathos as I did on the 20th. This time finding 4 Bee Eaters, single Stone Curlew and a good amount of larks and pipits. Follow the road from near the bridge inland to reach the quarry and park around the back to visit. My final stop with the car had to again be in Lindos and I am glad that I did. After again checking the area where I had seen the buntings and seeing 3 Lesser Kestrel I saw a couple of small birds perched on a little fence, one was a Whinchat and the other looked like a Pied Flycatcher. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a female Collared Flycatcher and then a splendid male sat alongside the female, this bird is indeed a sight to behold! I had real difficulty dragging myself away from this pair.

23rd April

Had a walk around Kiotari and only saw 3 Short-toed Eagles, Woodchat Shrike and noted an increase in hirundines in the area.

24th April

A last day walk around Kiotari and a trip to the south end of the resort around a more cultivated area. A Merlin was watched sat upon a telegraph pole for a good 20 minutes as it caught small prey items. Then I managed to flush 2 Corncrakes, gave me quite a shock! Lots of Whinchat, Red-rumped Swallows around and a nice area to end my trip to Rhodes.

Summary

A really nice Greek island to birdwatch with lots of habitat but not enough birds to fill it,you have to work for your birds but it is well worth the effort!

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