Between 10th and 22nd April we took a family holiday to the Greek island of Lesvos. For European birders this place will need no introduction whatever, but for all others, the place is a real hotspot of eastern Mediterranean biodiversity: the usual mix of pine forest and scrub is accompanied by large areas of sea-level salt marsh, olive groves and saltpans which are what attracts the birders, especially as the island is just off the coast of turkey and is on a major north-south migration route between Africa and Northern and Central Europe. Proximity to Turkey also means that there are wildlife specialities to be found here that are endemics not to be found elsewhere in Europe: these include the much-sought after Krüper’s Nuthatch, and numerous Orchids.
This time last year I was in Samos, about 100 miles further south, and the Orchid season was running quite early. On Lesvos this time the Orchids season was even earlier, and we were really quite lucky to find any Bee Orchids at all; our first major outing on arrival was to the Andissa area of the island to search for Ophrys lesbis, the endemic Lesbos Bee Orchid: we were lucky to find a single plant in flower.
I had visited Lesvos once before in 2011, and it is really special for birds on passage. We spent a highly pleasurable 12 days in our jeep birding our socks off; our four-year-old son now has a passion for Owls and Bee-Eaters! Once again, many thanks to all the kind people we met (again), esp. Steve Dudley and Paul Manning.
Below are some representative shots from the trip, and some links. You will see that I did manage one or two macro shots, but nothing too special. With the exception of the orchid and some of the butterfly shots, the majority were taken with D3S and 300f4 with 1.4TC, usually at 1/3200 for flight shots.
Stone Curlew shots
Adult Male Montagu’s Harrier