Been feeling a bit lethargic since the excursion. Had a couple of visits to the Tame valley but nothing to report except the 4 Oystercatchers at Dosthill and the odd Water rail. Completely failed to see the mythical Firecrest despite an extensive search and apparently missed a Red Kite which flew overhead, apparently also at Dosthill, apparently. My patch walk at Caldecote was equally quiet except for 140 Fieldfare with a few Redwings.
So as far as illustrations are concerned we'll have to make do with my female Blackcap which continues to visit my garden feeders when the now 9 Greenfinches have had their fill.
The last few images of last week's short trip to Lake Kerkini concern birds we saw but could not readily identify. Moreover the photos I did manage to get are little more than useless. First up is a Turtle Dove species, probably a first winter but what species? Our first reaction was Turtle Dove being noticably smaller than the Collared Doves it was with but I'm by no means certain.
Turtle Dove with Collared Dove
Moving on, Terns in winter.
And finally an easy one: a Gull. I like a challenge but Gull ID just aint my thing
Yellow legged Gull
Probable Caspian Gull
Many thanks to Yoav Perlman for his help with the identification of these species
On our second full day we decided to explore the hills to the north towards the Bulgarian border. The weather was excellent and the plan was to drive high enough to be able to scan the surrounding hillsides for Rock Partridge, a species John and I had never seen before. Despite climbing high into the hills we were out of luck but we knew it would be a long shot. We did see Sombre Tit and Cirl Bunting and large flocks of Chaffinches but little else. After coffee we drove back towards the lake to explore a different part of the shoreline.We were particularly keen to find the flock of Lesser White fronted Geese which regularly winter there. We found flocks of White fronted geese but they were too distant to positively identify any Lessers. There were plenty of other species on or around the lake though.
White tailed Eagle
Great White Egret
Golden Eagle mobbed by Hooded Crow
Little Owl, familiar sight around the village at dusk
1st - 4th February 2016
The main focus of our trip was the Pelicans and the boat trip provided some wonderful photographic opportunities as the birds came in close for the chance of an easy meal. The camera was red hot as we snapped away with Pelicans sometimes all around us. This is a selection:
I met Nikos Gallios at the Bird Fair last year and over the winter arranged a birdwatching trip to Lake Kerkini in Northern Greece, staying at his comfortable family hotel nearby in the village of Chrysochorafa, I went with John Holtham who arranged the transport and flights. We flew to Thessalonika and then drove North to the small village quite close to the Bulgarian border. It was a trouble free journey, both the flight by Easyjet and the drive to the Hotel. We had the hotel to ourselves as Nikos was 'between groups' so we planned the next couple of days around a boat trip on the lake. Our main objective was to see the Dalmation Pelicans which although a globally threatened species occurred in good numbers on the lake. We would spend our first day on the lake and around the lake exploring the wealth of birdlife in the area.
Day 2 would be spent in the mountainous terrain to the north searching for a secondary objective -Rock Partridge.
The weather was ideal, warm sunshine and windless, a stark contrast to the weather we had left behind in the U.K. After a excellent Greek breakfast we followed Nikos to the lake shore where his boat was kept. Even before we got in we could see Pelicans at close quarters hoping for any fish the local fishermen might discard. More Pelicans approached as we moved slowly away from the shore. The fishermen were happy to throw undersized fish for the Cormorants as well as the Pelicans. A positive attitude to wildlife, happy to share the bounty of the lake.
Fishermen and Pelicans
Lake Kerkini is big, some 12 miles long in fact and supports huge numbers of birds: Wildfowl. Herons and Raptors. In addition there are Flamingos, Swans, Spoonbill, and both Pygmy and Greater Cormorants in large numbers. Much of the lake is fringed with trees where we found Syrian, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, and Buzzards. Other raptors perched on the dead tree stumps that littered the extensive dried up muddy areas. White tailed, Golden and Spotted Eagles plus a Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, Kestrel and Merlin.
Day 2 and images of both Dalmation and White Pelicans plus other species will be in a later post.
Hi,I've lived and worked in Warwickshire all my life, now retired my lifelong interest in wildlife is now my main hobby. Birding in particular both local, national and in the Western Palearctic region is a major interest. I am very happily married to Jan and have two great kids Rachel and Paul,and 2 beautiful grandchildren
Birding lists(All BOU),
Old Warks 255,
Western Palearctic 730.(Netfugal)