Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Rhodes May 2022

Date: 01st - 11th May 2022
Location: Rhodes, Greece

Bird Species Highlights: 
Hoopoe, Turtle Dove, Black Crowned Night Heron, Short Toed Snake Eagle,
Bee Eater, Woodlark, Red Rumped Swallow, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Alpine Swift, Short Eared Owl, Eleonora's Falcon, Woodchat Shrike, Semicollared FlycatcherBlue Rock Thrush, Cuckoo, Crag Martin, Little Bittern, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Squacco Heron, Golden Oriole, Lesser Kestrel, Purple Heron, Eastern Black Eared Wheatear, Spanish Sparrow, Red-Backed Shrike.

Butterflies:
Aegean Meadow Brown, Black-Veined White, Clouded Yellow
Common Blue, Eastern Dappled White, Eastern Baton Blue
European Swallowtail, Green Hairstreak, Green-Underside Blue, Hungarian Skipper, Large White, Lesser-Fiery Copper, Long-Tailed Blue, Lulworth Skipper, Mallow Skipper, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Scarce Swallowtail, Small Copper, Small White

Observation: 
Making the most of the COVID restrictions being lifted we booked another holiday to Rhodes, Greece 10 days in the sun and heat or that was the plan, having been to the island back in May 2018, I knew it was gonna be a challenge to beat 2018's totals of 63 birds and 14 species of butterfly, but happy to have a go.
The trip started at 430am at Bristol Airport, the queues were huge! Queuing out the door, we took my 83 old mother in law and managed to get assistance so it was fairly stress-free once we got through security, the flight was delayed by 30 mins but once on the plane, all went smoothly.
4 hours later we touched down, and within the hour we were arriving at our hotel Atlantica Imperial Resort & Spa at Kolymbia. A beautiful hotel and excellent food!


I looked around the hotel and grounds but at 4:50am I was out exploring Flag Hill to the right in this picture, the weather was not sunny or scorchio! it was very windy and dull, a complete change from our first visit. I wandered along a deserted coastline and up onto hill, a Blue-Rock Thrush could be heard singing, and Sardinian Warblers were singing their scratchy song.
The light was not great for photos, a Woodchat Shrike perched up searching for breakfast.


As I was looking at Yellow-Legged gulls passing across the headland to my surprise this Short-Eared Owl rose from the rocks and flew out of sight.


Looking at pictures online and having seen many Shorties I'm still not sure, Is it a Long-Eared Owl? Does anyone care to comment?


A few pairs of Black-capped Jay were around with a fly over Eleonora's Falcon, Raven and the ever-present Hooded Crows.


I was just making my way back for breakfast and a Semi-Collared Flycatcher sat up, one picture and then it disappeared, but with Lauren adding this bird in Cyprus was pleased to finally get an image to add to my Life list.


The Breakfast was amazing with whatever you could want, I tried everything!
After breakfast, I struggled over to the Hire car desk: 
Rodos Cars a very good service and for 9 days an excellent price (with full insurance) £250 much, much cheaper than any of the airport branches. 
Toyota Yaris with Carplay


Me & Lauren headed out as rain and a very overcast sky was overhead.
We headed up to Gadouras Dam, an area I discovered last time but this time keeping to the roads as last time the gravel route was almost undrivable!

A subspecies of Fallow Deer (Dama dama) and unique to Rhodes was seen in the undergrowth


Cretzschmar's Bunting, Turtle Dove, and Woodlark were buzzing around the access road. 


With the odd Bee Eater sitting on wires, Lauren managed views and a picture of 
Eastern Orphean Warbler, I missed it but I would return!


Nothing much on the Dam, Great-crested Grebe, Black Crowned Night Heron, Green Sandpiper but the highlight was a butterfly that I really wanted to find, 
Black-Veined White a lifer.
The weather was just brightening up and as the sun emerged from behind the clouds the Black-Veined arose.



Black Veined White - Aporia crataegi


Aegean Meadow Brown-Maniola telmessia


At that point, we were both thinking we hadn't seen many birds of prey when this beast floated across the Dam a Short Toed Snake Eagle, Honey Buzzards, and Common Buzzards were also seen around the Dam.

We dropped into Lardos for some Bee-eaters but the weather was very misty so we returned to Hotel.
03/05, and I headed out early morning for a wander Bee-eaters it appears arrived in numbers overnight with their calls being heard everywhere.


I drove across the Island checking places I'd discovered from the previous trip, Mount Profitis Ilias, a wander around giving great views across the island but nothing much going on.
                              A dirt track to Aenaos Wind Park was next stop where Turtle Dove, Cuckoo could be heard calling all around but views were distant, the track is drivable but I walked. More Short-toed Eagle plus Common Buzzard were also here.


 Next down again to Lardos, just short of the village a small road is the place to get great views of Bee-eater and other small birds.




The road backs onto the river which comes out on Lardos Beach which is where we stayed in 2018, must be a good spot for the Bee Eater as at best count probably 50 or so birds hunting and flying around with House Martin, Barn Swallow, and Hoopoe also seen. 


04/05

A family day and bus trip into Rhodes today so Lauren and I arose early to bird before breakfast, just along coast another river emerged onto the beach so we thought a good destination, Epta Piges a ford crossed the river and a handy bridge for us to bird from
Little-ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper. Little Egret Reed Warbler and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler were seen

Little-Ringed Plover


Eastern Olivaceous Warbler


Eleonora's Falcon (dark phase) as we returned.


A surprise Little Tern around the small harbor at Kolympia.


Blue skies now and the Yellow-legged Gulls watched over the harbor.


On Lauren's balcony, she had nesting House Martins, how lucky, I can't believe some residents complained about birds nesting, I would have paid extra!


After Breakfast, we waited for a bus to go to Rhodes, although blue skies above and warm, it was very very windy. We added Muscovy Duck, Oystercatcher, Grey Heron and Yellow Wagtail to the bird list. 
We walked along Seafront and then Grandmaster of the Knights Castle. 


Large White, Mallow Skipper, and Pigmy skipper were seen.
 Crag Martin, House, and Barn Swallow buzzed around the walls of the castle and as we came to the end of the walk we spotted a Hooded Crow with a Dahl's Whip Snake.


Felt sorry for the snake but I suppose that's nature, we left the Crow to dispatch the snake.


Back in the Hotel with my macro lens in hand, I found this Jumping Spider 
(Menemerus semilimbatus)


05/05

The next morning I went back to Gadouras Dam determined to get that Eastern Orphean Warbler, it wasn't in the spot we had first seen and it was windy again, I  decided to walk off into mountains after 40 mins I heard the bird call and a few minutes later had great views.


Singing away and totally oblivious to me, nice!


In a sheltered area, this Violet dropwing gave great views.



Driving very slowly on the deserted road towards Dam I spotted a Butterfly (Swallowtail) handbrake on and I leaped from the car running up the small bank, the butterfly had disappeared but a bird flew towards me, then perching in tree wow! a Golden Oriole a lifer, I'd seen before but never got pictures so very happy.


At the Dam wall, the wind was now so strong it was almost taking me off my feet!! 
Deciding to put the camera away and return, as I did I spotted this amazing Jumping Spider Philaeus chrysops, male.


Macro out, and led down I managed to take a lot of pictures, a praying mantis was his prey, a fabulous encounter.


On a high, I drove to other side of the Island, and a new spot was given to me by Matt ( Greenwings) Berry.
A dried river bed but a few butterflies around including a new species for me.
 
Red-underwing Skipper- Spialia sertorius 

The only shot and the only time i saw it on a few visits.


Aiolopus strepens - Grasshopper


Little Skimmer -Orthetrum abbotti, female 


After a hour or so I headed to another site given to me to find Lattice Brown which i never found but did get Green-underside Blue - Glaucopsyche alexis.


06/05
The next morning I returned to Epta Piges river mouth as the sun rose it cast a beautiful light on the birds that were present.

including Little Egret, Squacco Heron, and Curlew Sandpiper.
 

Wood Sandpiper


Little Stint


On the walk back a Green Hairstreak - Callophrys rubi.
 I didn't expect this species here.


A small group of Alpine Swift was feeding over the Habour. After Breakfast I drove with the Famly to Lindos.


At Lindos, we walked up through the village and the many shops to get to the acropolis 12euro entry but with views over the village and bay plus a added bonus of Crag Martin and Lesser Kestrel worth every penny.



While Lauren flew the drone, VIDEO goes Live on Friday 10th I went looking for butterflies.


Eastern Dappled White- Euchloe ausonia,
showed well, Mallow Skipper, Aegean Meadow Brown, and Scarce Swallowtail were buzzing around with no chance of photos of those.


After dropping Family back I returned to Lardos for more Bee Eaters




07/05
The next morning I Had a lie-in, well I'am on holiday, I do a lot of research when planning my trips and came across a place called Kremastis Bridge a small outflow very close to the Airport, on arriving at 9am road closures were everywhere making it difficult to get to where I wanted to go but after taking many different routes I finally got to the coast. The main road bridge had closed some 2 years previous and repairs were ongoing. Thankfully a ford had replaced the road giving it an excellent place to watch the wildlife.

Glossy Ibis



Little Bittern


Squacco Heron


Wood Sandpiper


Being literally at the end of the runway and the only crossing across the river incoming planes locals crossing on foot, motorbikes cars and lorries put everything up, I was parked on the ford, half on mud, half on ford, and not moving!! It was the best birding of the holiday.

Black winged Stilt


Squacco Heron


After a great morning, I returned via the river bed site for butterflies

Lulworth Skipper- Thymelicus acteon


This is the site, not much to nectar on but a great place to find dragonflies, and butterflies.


Scarce Swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius


Lesser Fiery Copper - Lycaena thersamon



Clouded Yellow - Colias croceus


The next couple of days we took it easy but I got bored and climbed Kolmbia hill/mount at 200m it may not seem a lot but at midday, it was hard work!
Carried my cameras just in case, glad I did.

Hooked Bright Bush-cricket Poecilimon hamatus



Hotel & Flag Hill behind, see it's high!!


10/11 05
With the holiday coming to an end I returned to a few spots Lindos being one, on my last trip it was my favorite spot but this time the rubbish dump was different, the numbers of Blue Rock thrush were good maybe 6 different birds were present.




Kremastis bridge with Lauren

Common Sandpiper


Squacco Heron - Video Here


Lardos while watching Bee Eater again this Hoopoe landed, I could hear Hoopoe most days but this was the first one I'd seen.


Another spot is the Italian bridge, google it, it's a road that goes to Gadouras Dam the off-road route, is not recommended but it gets little traffic and is good for somewhere quiet, Red-rumped Swallow, Shrike, Honey Buzzard and of course Bee-eaters present, also heard a Tawny owl call


Red-rumped Swallow


The Last Morning we did the usual walk picking up Ringed Plover, Redshank and a Red-backed Shrike making the total count:

2022 83 bird species & 21 butterfly species

2018 63 bird species & 14 butterfly species


Rhodes is fairly hard to bird most done from car, but some good spots can be found obviously different times of year would result in different species of everything, but I'd recommend it. I have many points on what3words if anyone would like, email me for any help, always happy to help.
All our camera work is done with 100-400mm canon 7dmk2 and 100mm 2.8 for macro

Link for Lauren's fabulous drone footage here. 



RHODES | TRAVEL VLOG


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