We made an early visit to the Pine Woods at Achlasderi to look for the Kruper's Nuthatch for the second time. So we set off at 6am, just as it was just getting light, for the 20 minute drive. We spent an hour watching the nesting area of the Nuthatch and had good sightings of it, the second sighting was much better and everyone got a good view, several other species were seen in and around the wood, mainly finches but we also saw Masked Shrike and we heard a Common Cuckoo. The drive back produced some nice sightings of Black Stork (3), Purple Heron, Great White Egret and lots of Little Egrets.
|Kruper's nuthatch taken by John Sutherland|
After breakfast we set off on the north road through Kalloni and headed for Petra on the north coast, we stopped for an hour at the raptor watch point just north of Kalloni. This hillside setting is a very beautiful spot, it over looks an extensive wooded ridge and is excellent for raptors both in passage and in residence. It was a little hazy and not the best conditions for sky-watching but we had a relaively successful watch. Several Long-legged Buzzards, circled over the ridge as did Short-toed Eagle and a Goshawk displayed a couple of times. A single Black Sotrk appeared a few times and we had a fleeting view of an Eleanora's Falcon which interacted with a Goshawk at one point.
|some of the group relaxing at the 'Bandstand' raptor watch point|
A few passerines were seen in the scrub around the watch point, these included: Cirl Bunting, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Black-eared Wheatear and Red-backed Shrike.
Next we visited an area on the coast just above Petra, we parked at the side of the road and watched some scrub on the top of the cliffs. Within minutes our target bird the Ruppell's Warbler was seen distantly sitting on top of a bush, but then the bird flew up towards us and it kept on coming! Eventually it sat on a wire just above our heads, amazing, this "hard to see and skulking bird" was sitting out in the open just above the heads of some 15 people.It sang for ages and hopped onto the nearest telegraph pole, that's what I call easy-birding. We also saw Blue Rock Thrush, Crag Martin and Red-rumped Swallow.
|two shots of the the very obliging Ruppell's Warbler|
At Perta Reservoir we found a couple of really nice Subalpine Warblers, as well as Black-eared Wheatear, Woodchat and Red-backed Shrikes, but our target species the Great Spotted Cuckoo eluded us.
The track from Molivos to Skala Sikaminias is quite bumpy but offer fantastic views of the beautiful northern coastline, it is stunning in places. So after eating our picnic lunch on Eftalou beach we drove the 10km long track. A couple of stops produced, Subalpine Warbler, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting and Red-backed Shrike. After a short stop in the most picturesque of fishing villages, Skala Sikaminias, we drove back on the main coast road to Petra Reservoir.
|the view from Eftalou beach across to Turkey|
Our second visit of the day to scan the scrub around Petra Reservoir proved that patience pays off. After an hour we finally got views of first one Great Spotted Cuckoo and then a second one was inadvertently flushed, it gave even better views as it flew around us.
Our journey back to the hotel was interrupted by a tyre puncture, this curtailed any further birding for the day.