Eastern Mediterranean specialities and migrants
Leaders Ian Ford and/or Chris Townend, ever popular and enthusiastic, very experienced Lesvos leaders!
Max group size 12 clients.
Departures from London Gatwick
Book before 30 June 2013, and your Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are FREE.
Lesvos is a classic destination, one of those 'must do' places reaching a wonderful peak when we visit during spring migration.
We find the speciality birds including Kruper’s Nuthatch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Cinereous Bunting, show you summer visitors newly arrived such as Subalpine, Orphean and Ruppell’s Warbler, and enjoy the wonderful migration all around this beautiful island. Expect around 150 - 160 species including many of the most sought-after birds of Europe. Red-footed Falcon, Black and White Stork, Scops Owl, Glossy Ibis, Rock Nuthatch, Masked Shrike, Spotted and Little Crake, Great and Little Bittern, Red-rumped Swallow, Black-necked Grebe, Hoopoe, Short-toed Lark, Olivaceous Warbler, Squacco and Night Heron, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, Gull-billed, Whiskered, Black, White-winged and Caspian Tern, Bee-eater and Redfooted Falcon, and around twenty wader species including Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank and both Wood and Green Sandpiper. We return to the saltpans, rivers and rough fields frequently as one set of migrants replaces another. Montagu’s Harrier, Purple Heron and Ruddy Shelduck, Short-toed Eagle, Alpine Swift and Little Owl, there is great variety in every habitat.
Dry upland areas hold Isabelline and Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Sparrow, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, and Blue Rock Thrush. In olive groves and woodlands Kruper’s Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper and Sombre Tit are found, and at the coast Cory’s and Balearic Shearwater. Rarities may include Pallid Harrier, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Spur-winged Plover and River Warbler, and delights of migration are always around. Imagine seven Golden Oriole in one tree, or Longlegged Buzzard circling a few yards above our heads, anything can happen! Later in the first week Olive-tree Warbler, Eleonora’s Falcon, Rufous Bush-Robin and Black-headed Bunting may begin to arrive, the whole experience is a whirlwind of new birds and brilliant views with easy access to most sites and very little walking.
With Heatherlea in Lesvos you won't be birding dawn till dusk on an 'intensive' itinerary, but our eye is definitely on the birding ball. We have good sites for all the key species, and also work the migration hotspots. We share info with any other birders we meet, and you can expect a relaxed attitude and a big bird list.
Some days we take lunch in local tavernas where you can expect a selection from sardines, calamari, chicken, Greek salad (featuring feta, tomatoes, local greens and olive oil), lots of local beans, bread, wine and water – a real experience!
This holiday has become one of our most popular Overseas Adventures, with some guests returning to Lesvos with Heatherlea several times - come and see why!
Day 1 We fly from Gatwick — Mytilene. There is the option of beginning your journey in Manchester, subject to confirmation by our carriers.
If our flight schedule allows, we may do some birding en-route to our hotel Skala Kalloni II.
Day 2 - Day 7
Six days full of brilliant birding! The fun begins right outside the hotel, where Black-winged Stilt, Glossy Ibis, Spotted Crake, Red-rumped Swallow, Black-necked Grebe, Hoopoe, Short-toed Lark and a variety of warblers including Olivaceous can be reasonably expected within a short walk, or even just standing by the hotel gate! Clouds of hirundines, darting wader flocks, the sudden emergence of birds in the Kalloni pool, this is a great start to the day. We are perfectly placed in the heart of the island and close to many of the key birding sites.
A short drive takes us to a quiet lake where Little Bittern, Spotted and Little Crake, and Squacco and Night Heron can be seen motionless in the morning light, and warblers and Middle-spotted Woodpecker begin their day in view of our scopes. A walk in a different direction brings wagtails, finches and pipits into view, and the East River and Kalloni Saltpan areas are alive with birds.
Seven tern species, including Gull-billed, Whiskered, Black, White-winged Black and
Caspian are quite likely, Bee-eater and Red-footed Falcon can throng the telephone wires, and around twenty wader species should include Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank and both Wood and Green Sandpiper. We will return to the saltpans, rivers and rough fields of the area throughout the holiday, as birds move through and one set of migrants replaces another. Montagu’s Harrier, Purple Heron and Ruddy Shelduck, Short-toed Eagle, Alpine Swift and Little Owl, there is great variety and a rewarding sighting in virtually every habitat. Some days we venture further, although nothing is very far away in Lesvos, and the drier upland areas hold Cinereous and Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Isabelline and Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Nuthatch and Rock Sparrow, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Blue Rock Thrush and Ruppell’s Warbler. On these days away from the lowlands around the hotel we make use of local tavernas, and you can expect a selection from sardines, calamari, chicken, Greek salad (featuring feta, tomatoes, local greens and olive oil), lots of local beans, bread, wine and water – a real experience!
Other venues include the olive groves and woodlands where Kruper’s Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit, and Sombre Tit are found, and the coast where Cory’s and Balearic Shearwater are worth a look. Rarities might include Semi-collared Flycatcher, Spur-winged Plover and River Warbler, and delights of migration are always around. Imagine seven Golden Oriole in one tree, or Long-legged Buzzard circling a few yards above our heads, anything can happen! Later in the week it is possible that Olive-tree Warbler , Eleonora’s Falcon, Rufous Bush-Robin and Black-headed Bunting will begin to arrive, and the whole experience is a whirlwind of new birds and brilliant sightings. A wonderful week’s birding.
We return to Mytilene Airport for our flight to London Gatwick and Manchester.
Return scheduled flight from London Gatwick/Manchester – Lesvos, airport taxes, ground transportation, accommodation and all meals, incidental tips, and the services of Heatherlea leader Ian Ford or Chris Townend, joined by another from our main guiding team with more than 6 clients. Max 12 clients.
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