Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Lake Kerkini - Part 2

The weather changed on the 22nd April, after 5 days of clear blue skies it became overcast and we had some heavy rain overnight.
Returning from the airport with Pam we stopped at Mandraki Harbour where a party of 52 Glossy Ibis were busy washing, preening and wing flapping which indicates that they are probably recently arrived migrants.
Glossy Ibis
On the 23rd we took a boat trip out on to the lake which provided great views of the pelicans, although to avoid disturbing the breeding birds the boats keep a sensible distance away from the nesting areas. The water has been rising steadily for the past 3 or 4 days. This is controlled rise to fill the lake in order to provide water for crop irrigation through the summer but it does enable better boat access in to some of the areas where the cormorants, egrets, and herons sit during the day. 
Pelicans - White in the foreground and Dalmatian at the rear
Whilst on the boat we had a party of a dozen Whiskered Terns, which are my first for the area.
It rained again in the night and the following morning I did an early morning walk around where we are staying at Korifoudi. It was immediately apparent that there were new birds around, the number of Golden Oriole calling had risen dramatically, I estimated at least 20 in the immediate area. 
Golden Oriole - male
Birds noted on the walk were as follows;
Red-backed Shrike 4 males - new for the trip
Masked Shrike 1 male
Lesser Grey Shrike 2 - had my first of the trip yesterday
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Golden Oriole 20
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 6
Turtle Dove 22
Black-headed Wagtail 2
Nightingale 15+ these have been around for some time.
Black Stork 1 giving superb views
Lesser Grey Shrike
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
Red-backed Shrike - male
Black Stork
Not bad for a couple of hours walking around Korifoudi!
Driving around the lake we had several more Red-backed Shrikes and good numbers of Bee-eaters along with the usual pelicans, cormorants and herons.
I had hoped that by spending some time at Kerkini I would witness the arrival of migrants from the south and I had experienced just that.
I'll be exploring some of the other birding sites on the coast around Thessalonika over the next few days to see what they have to offer.

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