Trip Report: Greece, May 12-19, 1997

Gebbe Björkman, Ateljé Gebbe, Ödeshög, Sweden;

In my notebook I have a report from a trip to the area of Island Lefkas - Pindos Mountains in the north-west of Greece 12th - 19th of May in 1997. It has not been reported earlier. But I put it out now. Maybe it will be of interest for somebody.

97.05.12 Jan Peterson and I leave Sweden from the airport of Arlanda, Stockholm, arrive at Préveza in a chartered airplane. Bus-transport to Nidri on the island of Léfkas.

97.05.13 Spend the day in the nearby surroundings. Visit a recreation area at a brook ravine with a waterfall with cold and clear water.

97.05.14 Rent a car and go north along coastal marshlands near Parga. Turn inland to the east. Visit the area of an old aqueduct (Nikolas -something?). Then towards Fillipiàs - Ioannina - Mètsovon to Melia. We put the tent up at a small lovely brook under an old stone arch bridge. Stroll around all afternoon in ravines, along streams, up on hillsides and meadows and in the forests near Melia.

97.05.15 In the morning we go from Melia to Kranià and then further to Grèvena. But there are mostly farmland areas near Grèvena so we turn back to near Kranià where we stay the night at a big river. During the day we walk around in the vast pine forests in the area between Kranià and Melia and we visit the beech forests on high altitudes where snow is still around and breathe the cold air on high alpine meadows.

97.05.16 Stay in the area and do further investigations. Having lovely swims in the cold-clear mountain rivers. A lot of things remind us of the North of Sweden with a, for us, peculiar mix of southern things.

97.05.17 Leave the wonderful mountains under thunder and rain and go back towards the coast in the west. We meet the heat again. Stroll around near Neochórion looking at lovely orchids (Ophrys sp. among others) and butterflies. Have a swim in the sea in Igoumenitsa and go along the coastal road to Artá round the Bay of Amvrakikós Kólpos to Amfilochia and come back to the hotel in Nidri late in the night.

97.05.18 Relax in the area.

97.05.19 Go back to Sweden.

I give you the complete list of the observations of birds we made, in systematical order:

     English name:             Number       Place of obs.
- 1. Little Grebe         Tachybaptus ruf.      1            at Parga

- 2. Little Egret         Egretta garzetta      fairly com.  along coast
- 3. Grey Heron           Ardea cinerea         2            lake near Igoumenitsa  
- 4. Purple Heron         Ardea purpurea        1            coastal marsh near Nidri  

- 5. White Stork          Ciconia ciconia       sev. pairs   Fillipias, Artá and Igoumenitsa

- 6. Garganey             Anas querquedula      1 male       lake at Igoumenitsa

- 9. Eur. Honey Buzzard   Pernis apivorus       2            near Melia

- 8. Egyptian Vulture     Neophron percnopterus 1 2y         south of Grévena

- 9. Sparrowhawk, Levant or European?
                          Accipiter nis./brev.  1            Nidri (long distance)
-10. Common Buzzard       Buteo buteo           fairly com   not on highest alt.
-11. Common Kestrel       Falco tinnunculus     abun.        esp. in lower mountains
-12. Eurasian Hobby       Falco subbuteo        1 pair       forest near Kraniá

-13. Common Moorhen       Gallinula chloropus   1            a pond near Grévena
-14. Eurasian Coot        Fulica atra           >20          lake near Igoumenitsa

-15. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius     1            saltmarsh near Lefkas town
-16. Curlew Sandpiper     Calidris ferruginea   1            at alpine brook alt. 2000 m Kraniá

-17. Mediterr. Gull       Larus melanocephalus  >50          Bay at Préveza, from ferry
-18. Herring Gull         Larus arg. cachinnans common       at sea level
-19. Sandwich Tern        Sterna sandvicensis   >10          sea level Lefkas
-20. Common Tern          Sterna hirundo        2            Bay at Préveza, from ferry

-21. Common Wood Pigeon   Columba palumbus      >10          forest at high alt.
-22. Euras. Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto abun         in towns at low alt.
-23. Eur. Turtle Dove     Streptopelia turtur   abun         in forests and yards

-24. Common Cuckoo        Cuculus canorus       abun         in forests at rel. high alt.

-25. Eur. Scops Owl       Otus scops            3            heard in Nidri
-26. Tawny Owl            Strix aluco           common       in forest at rel. high alt.

-27. Eur. Nightjar        Caprimulgus eur.      fairly com.  in forests rel. high alt.

-28. Common Swift         Apus apus             common       in Mesovón / few Nidri
-29. Alpine Swift         Apus melba            >5           over Nidri never in mountains  

-30. Eur. Bee-eater       Merops apiaster       fairly com.  seemed to just arrive
-31. Eurasian Hoopoe      Upupa epops           1 pair       at river near Kraniá

-32. Eur. Gr. Woodpecker  Picus viridis         1            heard forest near Melia
-33. Great Spotted W.     Dendrocopos major     1?           heard once forest Melia

-34. Eurasian Skylark     Alauda arvensis       >20          singing on alpine meadows
-35. Wood Lark            Lullula arborea       >10          singing on high meadows
-36. Crested Lark         Galerida cristata     fairly com.  rel high up/ fewer sea
-37. Great. Short-t. Lark Calandrella Brach.    1            marsh at Lekas Town

-38. Sand Martin          Riparia riparia       few          in mountains not too high up
-39. Euras. Crag Martin   Hirundo rupestris     few          in mountains not too high up
-40. Barn Swallow         Hirundo rustica       abun.        all alt. exc. for highest level
-41. Red-rumped Swallow   Hirundo daurica       abun.        esp. in mountain valleys
-42. Com. House Martin    Delichon urbica       abun.        near houses

-43. Water Pipit          Anthus spinoletta     1            alpine meadow at 2000 m alt.
-44. White Wagtail        Motacilla alba alba   fairly com.  near rivers and house
-45. Grey Wagtail         Motacilla cinerea     fairly com.  at rivers not too high up

-46. White-thr. Dipper    Cinclus cinclus       fairly com.  at rivers not too high up

-47. European Robin       Erithacus rubecula    fairly com.  in forests not too high up
-48. Common Nightingale   Luscinia megarhynchos abun.        in scrub areas not too high 
-49. Whinchat             Saxicola rubetra      1 male       Kraniá, alpine meadow 2000 m 
-50. Common Stonechat     Saxicola torquata     1 pair       meadow near Melia
-51. Northern Wheatear    Oenanthe oenanthe     abun.        on highest alpine meadows

-52. Blue Rock Thrush     Monticola solitarius  1 male       coastal cliff near Pargá

-53. Common Blackbird     Turdus merula         common       not nearest sea level.
-54. Mistle Thrush        Turdus visc.          common       forests high level

-55. Cetti's Warbler      Cettia cettia         fairly com.  wet scrub and reed
-56. Zitting Cisticola    Cisticola juncidis    few          at sea level 
-57. Great Reed Warbler   Acroceph. arund.      fairly com.  coastal marshes
-58. Olivaceus Warbler    Hippolais pallida     >5           Aqu. Nikolas and Igoumenitsa 
-59. Subalpine Warbler    Sylvia cantillans     fairly com.  in mountain valleys
-60. Blackcap             Sylvia atricapilla    fairly com.  in forests not at sea level.
-61. Chiffchaff           Phylloscopus collyb.  fairly com.  forests high altitude.

-62. Spotted Flycatcher   Muscicapa striata     few          forests high level

-63. Sombre Tit           Parus lugubris        1?           heard near Nidri
-64. Marsh Tit            Parus palustris       1            heard near Melia
-65. Crested Tit          Parus cristatus       fairly com.  in pine forests near Melia
-66. Blue Tit             Parus caeruleus       common       not at highest levels
-67. Great Tit            Parus major           common       all sorts of habitat
-68. Coal Tit             Parus ater            few          high alt. forest near Kraniá

-69. Long-tailed Tit      Aegithalos caudatus   >10          river valley NW Melia

-70. West. Rock Nuthatch  Sitta neumayer        1 pair       at nest in ravine Nidri
-71. Short-toe. Treecreeper Certhia brachyd.    1?           heard once Nidri

-72. Red-backed Shrike    Lanius collurio       common       in scrub at rel. high alt.
-73. Lesser Grey Shrike   Lanius minor          1 pair       breeding? near Grévena
-74. Woodchat Shrike      Lanius senator        1            scrub near Grévena

-75. Euras. Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus       1 male       just arrived singing Melia

-76. Eurasian Jay         Garrulus glandarius   fairly com.  in forests not at sea level
-77. Common Magpie        Pica pica             fairly com.  at lower levels
-78. Western Jackdaw      Corvus monedula       common       nesting all bridges 
-79. Common Raven         Corvus corax          1 pair       alpine forest near Melia
-80. Hooded Crow          Corvus c. cornix      common       not highest levels

-81. House Sparrow        Passer domesticus     common       not at highest alt.
-82. Spanish Sparrow      Passer hispaniolensis several      in mountain villages

-83. Common Chaffinch     Fringilla coelebs     common       in forests not sea level
-84. European Serin       Serinus serinus       sev.         few in forests/ big flock alpine mead.
-85. Eur. Goldfinch       Carduelis carduelis   abun.        spread everywhere
-86. Common Linnet        Carduelis cannabina   fairly com.  meadows high alt.
-87. Common Rosefinch     Carpodacus erythrina  1 male       heard near Kraniá
-88. Eurasian Bullfinch   Pyrrhula pyrrhula     1            heard in forest near Melia

-89. Cirl Bunting         Emberiza cirlus       fairly com.  yards farm areas not sea
-90. Ortolan Bunting      Emberiza hortulana    few          on meadows fairly high alt.
-91. Black-headed Bunting Emb. melanocephala    common       near sea level
-92. Corn Bunting         Miliaria calandra     fairly com.  at all altitudes

Reptiles and Amphibians:

Triturus alpestris     >15           one loc. in pine for. high alt. near Melia 
Bombina variegata      common        in small waterholes and ditches in forest near Melia
Bufo bufo              several       in mountains
Bufo viridis           1             hiding under a stone near a brook alpine meadow
Hyla arborea           1?            heard near Nidri
Rana dalmatina         abundant      not at sea level
Rana graeca            common        not at sea level
Rana ridibunda         abundant      all levels

Testudo hermanni       >100          seen during the week not at sea level
Mauremys caspica       >100          in a stream in Nidri

Lacerta agilis         1  male       Nidri
Lacerta viridis        fairly common not at highest levels
Lacerta graeca         several       forests along rivers
Podarcis erhardii      abundant      forests along rivers

Coluber gemonensis     1             on road in Nidri killed by car
Coluber najadum        1             in ravine of Nidri
Natrix natrix          several       along rivers in forests
Vipera ammodytes       1             on road near Nidri killed by car


Hedgehog          Erinaceus europaeus     common   many killed on roads
Bats?             Chiroptera ??                    everywhere
Rabbit            Oryctolagus cuniculus   1        pres. domestic
Euras. Squirrel   Sciurus vulgaris        1        very black near Ioaninna
Water Vole?       Arvicola terrestris?    common   on alpine meadows  
Mustela putoris/Mustela eversmanni        1        killed and flattened on road 
                                                   near Melia in mountains

Return to trip reports.

This page served with permission of the author by Urs Geiser;; September 2, 1998