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Field Guides Tour Report
Classical Greece 2016
May 1, 2016 to May 15, 2016
Megan Edwards Crewe with Lefteris Kakalis

Early morning sunlight bathes the Parthenon and Acropolis, as seen from the rooftop restaurant of our nearby hotel. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

Greece's lovely countryside offers a delightful place to observe Europe's spring migration and to study some of its breeding birds -- with the added bonus of a plethora of nearby cultural attractions to enjoy as well! Our two-week tour ventured from the wild pine forests of Dadia NP in the country's northeast to teeming wetlands along the calm Aegean Sea, from the fertile countryside around the massive, freshwater Lake Kerkini to the brooding hulks of Mount Olympus and Mount Parnassos, and the dry, olive-studded hillsides around Delphi. Our weather was generally delightful (except for those two dampish days at the beginning, of course), and we had a multitude of birds to enjoy.

At Dadia's raptor feeding station, an aggressive scrum around the carcasses held dozens of Cinereous Vultures and Eurasian Griffons, with a few Egyptian Vultures, a single White-tailed Eagle and some Black Kites watching the action from a nearby tree. Great Crested Grebes performed their courtship mirror dances and gathered huge mouthfuls of marsh vegetation to add to their growing platform nests. The lovely songs of a bevy of larks -- Calandra, Wood, Greater Short-toed, Crested, Sky -- rained down from the heavens as the birds themselves hovered in endless display flights. A White Stork strode through a field studded with blood-red poppies (and scores more snoozed on nests all across northern Greece). A pale pink cloud of Greater Flamingos floated on long legs along the edge of a lagoon. A Syrian Woodpecker hitched its way up a telephone pole. Sardinian and Subalpine and Rueppell's and Olivaceous warblers sang from nearby bush tops, conveniently right at eye level mere yards away, while Olive-tree Warblers led us on quite the merry dance before one FINALLY showed itself -- appropriately enough in a little olive tree. Masked Shrikes hunted from low branches around our picnic site. A Little Owl sat on a hay bale, staring intently at something on the ground. Dalmatian Pelicans preened on a muddy islet, looking especially enormous compared to nearby Pygmy Cormorants. Two Rock Nuthatches ferried mouthful after mouthful of insects to a nest stuck to the wall of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi. Short-toed Eagles hovered over farm fields. Common Cuckoos shouted challenges from wooded hillsides. Red-footed Falcons rested on telephone wires. Spur-winged Plovers trotted across dry pans. Alpine Swifts raced in screaming groups over a craggy headland, with the blue, blue sea behind them. A Firecrest flared his stunning crown feathers. A pair of Hawfinches rummaged along a mountain roadside. And technicolor European Bee-eaters showed repeatedly that not all European birds are boring little brown things!

Of course, it wasn't just the birds that made this trip. The Parthenon and Acropolis were still impressive, even though clad in scaffolding, and the new museum there is fabulous. In Iasmos gorge, we walked on the graceful spans of an old stone bridge that dates back to Byzantine times. The grave treasures of Philip II (former king of Macedonia and father of Alexander the Great) at Vergina dazzled in their spectacular museum. The ancient ruins at Delphi, once thought to be the center of the universe, sprawl down the dry, maquis-studded slopes, the writings on their many stone blocks still perfectly legible (and readable, if you can read Greek) millennia later. And a quick visit to the glittering mosaics of Osios Loukas finished off our tour.

And of course, the trip was greatly enhanced by having such a congenial and enjoyable bunch of participants to share it with. Thanks so much to all of you for joining me for the adventure. Thanks too to Lefteris -- for both his translation skills and his excellent bird-spotting! Thanks to Eleni, Christina and Irini for their excellent ruins tours, and to Sharon at FG headquarters for putting it all together. I hope to see you all again in the field somewhere soon!

-- Megan

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

A Great Crested Grebe, in all its breeding finery, floats on Lake Kerkini. We saw hundreds dotted across the surface of the water, including many doing their endearing courtship mirror dances or building their soggy platform nests. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
GRAYLAG GOOSE (Anser anser) – A small group foraged along a grassy strip some way out from our bank perch at Lake Kerkini. This species overwinters in large numbers in the area, and a few have recently begun to stay year-round.
MUTE SWAN (Cygnus olor) – Sprinkled across the wetlands of Drana and on the waters of vast Lake Vistonida (by Porto Lagos).
COMMON SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadorna) – Good numbers on the ponds, lakes and wetlands of eastern Greece, with especially nice studies of several close pairs at Drana. These handsome ducks look mostly white in flight.
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos) – Widespread, but in small numbers -- including a wary female with a gaggle of medium-sized youngsters at Drana.
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Anas clypeata) – A trio of males flew around for a bit over one of the lagoons at Anthia before finally dropping -- conveniently straight out from the bus.
NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta) – Two fed along the back edge of one of the lagoons at Anthia; the distinctively long tail plumes of the male made them easy to pick out.
GARGANEY (Anas querquedula) – A dozen or more -- nearly all males -- floated on the flower-speckled lagoon at Anthia; those bright white eyebrows are certainly eye-catching!
FERRUGINOUS DUCK (Aythya nyroca) – Eight or nine floated in one of the lagoons at Anthia, but they'd drifted out of view before everybody got a chance to see them in the scopes. Fortunately, we got even closer looks at a drake floating among the White Storks along the edge of Lake Kerkini, seen as we headed to dinner at the taverna in Kerkini.

A male Sardinian Warbler sang his challenges from the top of a tree near the edge of the Athens Agora. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
RING-NECKED PHEASANT (Phasianus colchicus) – We heard one calling from the brushy hillside above the Lithotopos harbor on each morning's pre-breakfast walk there. This species was introduced to Europe more than 1000 years ago! [I*]
Gaviidae (Loons)
ARCTIC LOON (Gavia arctica) – Two, still in their non-breeding plumage, floated in the sea, seen from our perch near the Apollonian tower.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis) – Including an adult busily surfacing with morsel after morsel for its four fuzzy, black youngsters along a track near Lake Kerkini.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus) – Almost ridiculously common along the western shores of Lake Kerkini, where some stops netted us as many as 30 pairs in the same little bay! We saw plenty of evidence of courtship (those wonderful mirror dances) and nest building. [N]
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus) – Several hundred masses along the shore of Ptelea Lagoon in a cloud of soft pink; they certainly aren't quiet creatures! Lefteris said the birds have tried, unsuccessfully so far, to nest in the area.
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
YELKOUAN SHEARWATER (Puffinus yelkouan) – Two floated on the flat, calm seas off the Apollonian tower -- no wind to get them aloft!
Ciconiidae (Storks)
BLACK STORK (Ciconia nigra) – Multiple nice views of birds in flight, including some that soared just over our heads. We only saw one on the ground -- a very soggy specimen in a field we passed on our way in to Dadia on our first rainy afternoon.
WHITE STORK (Ciconia ciconia) – Many -- sitting on nests, stalking across fields, probing on muddy lake shores, or circling in rising thermals overhead -- throughout much of the tour. They were particularly abundant in the town of Kerkini, where seemingly every telephone pole sported an active nest! [N]
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo) – Abundant around Lake Kerkini (including dozens drying their wings just below the dam one morning), with smaller numbers along the Aegean coast. This species shows a significant amount of white on the face, as well as a big, yellow-orange bill. [N]
EUROPEAN SHAG (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) – Dozens (mostly first-year birds) rested on a rocky islet just offshore at Ptelea Lagoon.
PYGMY CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax pygmeus) – Plenty of these small, all-dark cormorants (even their stubby beaks are black) in wetlands all across northern Greece, with especially good scope studies of some at Drana and others roosting on snags over the water at Lake Kerkini.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
GREAT WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus onocrotalus) – A very large flock flapped past at Drana, headed for the Evros delta. Some of the group picked out a singleton amidst a big flying flock of Dalmatian Pelicans at Lake Kerkini.
DALMATIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus crispus) – Best seen on Lake Kerkini, where a loafing group festooned across some submerged snags allowed great scope views. We saw others at Drana and a single one floating on the sea at the Loudias delta.

A Short-toed Snake-Eagle on the wing, searching for its next meal. The copious covering of feathers on its thick, puffy head helps to protect it from snake strikes. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
LITTLE BITTERN (Ixobrychus minutus) – A few folks found one along the little stream near Pagouria, but our best group view came near our Lake Kerkini picnic lunch spot, when one flew over the road and landed in a nearby marshy field. It proceeded to do its very best reed imitation.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Common and widespread, particularly around Lake Kerkini. This species is closely related to North America's Great Blue Heron, and looks quite similar -- though shorter-legged.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – A few, including two stalking prey in grassy marsh area in the middle of Lake Kerkini (seen where we found our Graylag Geese). This dark species is decidedly long-billed.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Far smaller numbers than the next species, typically near the coast. Unlike North America's Great Egrets, in the breeding season, their yellow bills often turn black.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Dozens. Scores. Hundreds! Very common in wetlands throughout, with particularly nice studies of several along the Porto Lagos shoreline.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Dozens hovered like anxious maitre-d's around the feet of a herd of cattle along the beach at Loudias delta.
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – Small groups of these pond-herons foraged in the road at Drana, giving us fine views -- even if we DIDN'T get out in the rain. We saw numerous others at Lake Kerkini and the Loudias delta.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Our best group look came on our drive up to the taverna in Kerkini, when we found an adult standing on a log not far from the shore of Lake Kerkini. Some saw another along the little stream near Pagouria, while waiting for me to finish fixing our picnic lunch, or one flying away from the bus at the Loudias delta.

Little Owls were common and widespread this year, with at least a half-dozen sightings. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – Scattered birds among the egrets and spoonbills at Drana and Anthia.
EURASIAN SPOONBILL (Platalea leucorodia) – A baker's dozen foraged (or snoozed) along the back edge of one of the lagoons at Anthia, others swept the waters of Lake Kerkini (or arranged their feathers back into some semblance of order), and another flew over at the Loudias delta.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – One flew past, carrying a reasonably sized fish, as we turned off the highway towards Dadia, on our drive up from the airport, and a second flapped by as we birded the Loudias delta. Most Ospreys are well north of Greece by the time of our tour -- and they're generally rare enough migrants in much of Greece that it had been three years since Lefteris had seen one!
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
EGYPTIAN VULTURE (Neophron percnopterus) – A few of these small vultures lurked around the fringes of the scrum at the Dadia Forest feeding station, picking up scraps. We saw one in flight, looking surprisingly elegant -- and about half the size of a monstrous approaching Cinereous Vulture!
EUROPEAN HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis apivorus) – Especially nice looks at a quartet that came in from the direction of the sea while we birded along the Ptelea Lagoon. It was striking how much color variation there was between the four.
CINEREOUS VULTURE (Aegypius monachus) – These were by far the most aggressive visitors to the Dadia Forest raptor feeding station; they'd land and bound menacingly in -- wings drooped, and slashing forward with both feet -- to take their place at the carcass pile. We probably saw at least 20, which means we saw 15-20% of all the Cinereous Vultures left in Greece.
EURASIAN GRIFFON (Gyps fulvus) – Smaller numbers of this large vulture species at the carcass in Dadia; with their more cinnamon-colored body all-white head and neck, they were easy to separate from the Cinereous Vultures.
SHORT-TOED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus gallicus) – Most common on the first half of the trip, including a couple drifting back and forth over our heads while we birded along a track near Dadia on the morning we left for the coast. We watched one hovering while it looked for food -- one of the few big European raptors that does so.
LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE (Clanga pomarina) – Seen on scattered days during the first week, including one soaring over the little stream we birded along near Dadia our first day there (showing those distinctive white wing spots), a couple over track we walked the morning we left Dadia, and one near our picnic lunch spot on Lake Kerkini.
BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus) – One glided past while we birded the track near Dadia on the morning we left for the coast. It looked, as Sue pointed out, rather like a Swainson's Hawk!
EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus) – Regular around wetlands through the first part of the tour; most were females, though we did spot a few young males just starting to show some of their gray back and wing feathers. This species is much heavier and broader-winged than the Northern Harrier, and lacks a white rump patch.
LEVANT SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter brevipes) – One flew past, low overhead, while we birded near the Ptelea Lagoon, showing well that distinctively pale underwing -- and those dark, dark wingtips. Though this species often migrates in flocks, we saw only a single bird.
EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter nisus) – One circled over the forested slopes of Iasmos Gorge, a second shot past as we drove through a village near Lake Kerkini, and a third flap-flap-glided (in typical Accipiter fashion) over the wild forest near the tree line on Mount Parnassos.

A Gray Heron takes flight over a marshy edge of Lake Kerkini. This man-made reservoir has quickly become an important stopover spot for migrant waterfowl, shorebirds, egrets, herons, and more -- as well as a breeding area for pelicans and cormorants. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans) – A few hung around the fringes of the scrum at the Dadia Forest raptor feeding station (including some sitting in trees right over the action), but our best views came near the harbor at Lake Kerkini on one pre-breakfast walk, when a bird glided right past us.
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE (Haliaeetus albicilla) – An immature bird on the lowest branches of the big dead tree overhanging the carcass pile at the Dadia raptor feeding station was nice, giving us the chance to study it in the scopes. We also saw an adult, its white tail flashing as it circled against the forest, near the track we walked just east of Dadia village one afternoon.
COMMON BUZZARD (Buteo buteo) – Common throughout, with several different color morphs seen. This is a highly variable species.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – We had to contort ourselves into pretzel shapes to see our first (from the bus, as the rain pounded down on the Drana lagoons) as it crept through the vegetation along the edge of a channel. Fortunately, the ones we saw on Lake Kerkini were much less reclusive, chugging across the lake, making trails in the omnipresent surface vegetation.
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra) – Floating on lakes, ponds and puddles across much of the first week of the tour. This species lacks the flashing white undertail coverts of the previous species -- and of the American Coot.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
EURASIAN THICK-KNEE (Burhinus oedicnemus) – Two demonstrated their stop-and-go foraging behavior in a plowed field across the lagoon at Fanari, seen on each pre-breakfast walk there. This species is also widely known as the Stone-Curlew.

European Stonechats thrive on the dry, sunny, maquis-covered slopes around Delphi. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – Dozens strode around on their long, pink legs in the Drana and Anthia wetlands, and in the Porto Lagos salt pans, looking quite dapper. We had a few others at Lake Kerkini.
PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta) – Our first hunted the waters of Ptelea Lagoon, sweeping their distinctively curved bills back and forth across the surface. We found a few others at the Porto Lagos salt pans, plus one with some stilts on a muddy islet in Lake Kerkini.
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus ostralegus) – Scattered birds in the lagoons at Drana, in the Porto Lagos salt pans (and along the shore the following morning), and along the Loudias delta. We heard the loud, piping whistles of this species on several occasions -- typically as they flew past with a busy flurry of black and white wings.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Small flocks rested on shorelines, salt pans and mudflats around Porto Lagos and Fanari; they were in an interesting mix of plumages, ranging from apparent "winter" right through to ebony-fronted "breeding".
SPUR-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus spinosus) – When we couldn't get to the Evros delta, we thought we'd missed this species. Fortunately, Lefteris knew of a backup spot, and -- after a bit of hunting -- we eventually spotted two of these handsome, largely African birds on the Loudias delta.
KENTISH PLOVER (KENTISH) (Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus) – Some saw one or more at Drana or Anthia, but our best group views came at the Loudias delta, where we found one having a vigorous bath along the shore. This species has been split from North America's Snowy Plover.
COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) – One pattered among the stints in a lagoon at Drana. Its bulkier shape, and bright orange bill and legs help to separate it from the other small plovers.
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius dubius) – Especially nice views of one along the edge of tiny Dadia stream -- once everybody picked it out from the stones it was standing among, that is!
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED REDSHANK (Tringa erythropus) – A big group near our picnic lunch spot in the Drana wetlands provided some rainy afternoon entertainment. We saw others, even closer, in the lagoons at Anthia later the same day.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – A single bird hunted quite actively in a Drana pool, looking rather like a pale Greater Yellowlegs -- though with appropriately greenish legs, of course!
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) – One lurked among our first big group of Spotted Redshanks, also providing distraction during our lunch stop in the Drana wetlands. The very thin bill of this pale shorebird is distinctive.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – Small numbers in the wetlands at Drana, with others around Porto Lagos. The white rump patch on this species is distinctive in flight.
COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus) – A single bird stopped briefly on a sandy patch on an islet just offshore at the Loudias delta before disappearing out of view behind some nearby vegetation. The big white wedge on the trailing edge of the bird's wing is diagnostic.
EURASIAN CURLEW (Numenius arquata) – One strode across a lagoon at Drana, its long, curved beak immediately catching attention.

A scrum of Cinereous Vultures and Eurasian Griffons surround the carcass piles at the Dadia Raptor Center's feeding station, while an Egyptian Vulture, a Red Kite, an immature White-tailed Eagle and more Cinereous Vultures look on from an overhanging tree. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – One with a mixed shorebird flock at Drana was flushed by a Peregrine before everybody got a look. Fortunately, we found a handful of others -- including one in fine breeding plumage -- along the shoreline at the Loudias delta.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – Easily the most common shorebird of the trip, with scores sprinkled across the lagoons and salt pans of the Aegean coast. Many were already in their striking brick-red breeding plumage.
DUNLIN (Calidris alpina) – A handful of these smaller shorebirds, sporting the black bellies of their breeding plumage, mingled with the previous species in the Drana wetlands.
LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta) – Another common shorebird species, though outnumbered by the Curlew Sandpipers. These small "peeps" were regular in Drana, at the Porto Lagos salt pans and on the Loudias delta.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola) – A single bird flew past while we birded along the beach at Ptelea Lagoon. Unfortunately, the big colony that used to nest near Fanari appears to have collapsed.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
SLENDER-BILLED GULL (Chroicocephalus genei) – Lefteris and some of the group saw a trio of flying birds at Ptelea Lagoon, as we worked our way down the beach.

Finding a Great Spotted Woodpecker nest allowed us some fine, close observations of the busy parents. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

BLACK-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) – This was the common small gull of the Drana and Anthia wetlands; virtually all of them (with one or two exceptions) were youngsters -- i.e. lacking a black head.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) – Seen in flight over Fanari, where their snowy white wings flashed beautifully against the azure skies, with others following the tractors plowing near the Loudias delta. The calling bird that flew over our heads in Porto Lagos was especially nice, showing its black hood, scarlet bill, and white eye-crescents to perfection.
YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (MICHAHELLIS) (Larus michahellis michahellis) – Common and widespread along the coast, with particularly nice views of some (showing well those bright yellow legs) on posts and roofs at the monastery of Saint Nicholas near Porto Lagos.
LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons) – Great looks at these small terns (close cousins of North America's Least Tern) along the shore at Ptelea Lagoon, including one preening among the stones at the water's edge.
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – One flew along beside us for a bit, shortly after we arrived on the Loudias delta.
BLACK TERN (Chlidonias niger) – Hundreds fluttered over the marshes of Anthia, searching for insects amidst the raindrops.
WHITE-WINGED TERN (Chlidonias leucopterus) – After our first encounter with a less-than-cooperative bird at Anthia (only Merrill was lucky enough to be out of the bus when I spotted it), we had lovely views of one hunting over a marshy stretch on the Loudias delta.
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – Reasonably common over the wetlands of Drana and Anthia. This species was larger and overall paler than its fellow marsh terns (Black and White-winged).
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) – Best seen along the Aegean coast, though we also found a few on Lake Kerkini. The platform full of nesting birds at the Porto Lagos saltworks allowed good scope studies. [N]
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – A quartet flew over us as we started our walk along the beach at the Ptelea Lagoon.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – The "feral pigeon" variety! They were abundant around towns and cities.
COMMON WOOD-PIGEON (Columba palumbus) – Some of the group saw a trio flying away from the back edge of a field near Lake Kerkini, spotted as we walked a track near the Strimonas River, and we heard another singing, far downhill, early on our day up Mount Olympus.
EUROPEAN TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia turtur) – Many flocks, apparently grounded by the bad weather, in the Drana and Anthia wetlands, with others in the Dadia forest. The rusty edges of their mantle feathers are distinctive.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) – Abundant throughout, missing only from the highest mountains.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
COMMON CUCKOO (Cuculus canorus) – As usual, we heard far more of these than we saw, but we did connect with a few males perched up (and singing) in Dadia forest, and had a female fly across the track in front of us as we walked near Veronia.
Strigidae (Owls)
LITTLE OWL (Athene noctua) – Two at the church in Feres were a surprise -- particularly because one of them was INSIDE the church in Feres; we were all hoping it knew how to get out, though the fact that it kept flying into the windows suggested that perhaps it didn't. Our best looks, though, came when we found one perched on a hay bale right beside the road. It was so focused on whatever it was hunting that it totally ignored us. We saw others on scattered rooftops and telephone wires while driving.

The elegant Erechtheion is a smaller temple that flanks the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens. The six caryatids (pillars carved to look like women) are replicas; the originals have been moved to the fabulous new Parthenon museum. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

Apodidae (Swifts)
ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba) – Our best views came from our perch near the Apollonian tower, where screaming groups of courting swifts zoomed past at eye level. This big swift has a wingspan of nearly two feet!
COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus) – Easily the most common swift of the trip, seen on most days. The hundreds zipping around over Litochoro provided particularly good, close views.
PALLID SWIFT (Apus pallidus) – Those who ventured out for our pre-breakfast walk in Litochoro had multiple opportunities to study the differences between this species and the previous one. This one was browner (rather than black), with a more two-toned wing, a paler face, and a bigger white throat patch.
Upupidae (Hoopoes)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (Upupa epops) – We finally connected with several along a track near Lake Kerkini, and saw several more on the Loudias delta and in Litochoro -- including one that made multiple passes with food in its beak, clearly headed to a nest. There's no mistaking that distinctive profile! [N]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
COMMON KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis) – A glittering jewel of a bird, perched on a snag alongside Lake Kerkini. It made a few plunging dives into the water, coming up with some small prey that it whacked to death on the branches.

In Greece, the charming little European Robin is restricted to higher elevations -- like the slopes of Mount Olympus, where this one was photographed. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster) – Very common on the first week of the tour, with many fine chances to study that lovely plumage. This is eye candy of the highest order! [N]
Coraciidae (Rollers)
EUROPEAN ROLLER (Coracias garrulus) – Surprisingly few seen this year, generally scattered on distant telephone wires. As we saw, lighting conditions can have a significant impact on how blue they look!
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
EURASIAN WRYNECK (Jynx torquilla) – So near, yet so far... A calling bird flew landed in a nearby Grecian Fir tree on Mount Parnassos -- and quickly disappeared. A few got brief glimpses as he flicked up through the tree, but it favored the deepest, darkest bits of the tree, so most saw it only when it flew to another bush. Arg!
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos major) – Superb views of a pair busily provisioning a nest (unseen on the far side of a tree) along a track near Veronia -- which was good, because our first encounter was a less-than-satisfying flyby bird. [N]
SYRIAN WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos syriacus) – We had quick looks at several around Dadia, one perched up by some solar panels at Drana, and another (for some) near Lake Kerkini, but our best view came as we drove out of Doriskos, when Lefteris spotted one hanging from a telephone pole. This species just barely edges into the eastern corner of Greece, the only part of Europe it's found in.
BLACK WOODPECKER (Dryocopus martius) – Fine views of a male as he arrowed past over the forest on Mount Parnassos. This is Europe's largest woodpecker.
EURASIAN GREEN WOODPECKER (Picus viridis) – We heard one calling from the forest at Lake Kerkini (near the channel where we found our Eurasian Reed-Warblers), and another calling on Mount Parnassos. [*]
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
LESSER KESTREL (Falco naumanni) – It took some searching of the farm fields around Pagouria -- and the birds were mighty distant when we first spotted them -- but some patience (and a lunch break) meant we eventually had great views of part of the gang when they moved our way to grab some dragonflies. The local Eurasian Jackdaws were clearly less than impressed! We saw another gang of hunting birds along the highway between Mount Olympus and Delphi.
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus) – Seen every day but one -- and we probably just weren't paying enough attention that day! The pairs building nests in big poplar trees near Lake Kerkini were particularly noisy. [N]
RED-FOOTED FALCON (Falco vespertinus) – A handful hunted from telephone wires at Anthia. The first two (male and female) were a bit distant, but a couple of males we found later showed those distinctive red feet very nicely.
EURASIAN HOBBY (Falco subbuteo) – One hunted dragonflies over the track we walked just outside Dadia as we left the village (headed for Doriskos), and another did the same near Lake Kerkini, seen just before our picnic lunch.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Seen on five different days of the tour: a big female circling high over the stream just outside Dadia (sharing a thermal with a couple of Lesser Spotted Eagles), another bird stirring up the shorebirds at the Anthia wetlands, a bird riding the ridge at Iasmos gorge, a rather distant one perched on the cliffs at Thermopylae, and a family huddled on a ledge outside Delphi. Can you tell Lefteris hunts for raptor nests on many of the surveys he does for Greece?!

A Yellow-legged Gull keeps an eye on things from its rooftop perch at Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas's church) near Porto Lagos. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

Laniidae (Shrikes)
RED-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius collurio) – Certainly the most common of the tour's shrikes, seen nearly every day -- from our first, perched up atop a bush along the little stream near Dadia, to our last, twitching through street trees near our hotel in Delphi on the final pre-breakfast walk of the tour.
LESSER GRAY SHRIKE (Lanius minor) – One sat on a telephone wire within feet of one of our Red-footed Falcons -- a nice scope twofer! We had another perched atop a tree along the track near Veronia, on our day around Lake Kerkini. This was the plainest of the tour's decidedly colorful shrikes.
MASKED SHRIKE (Lanius nubicus) – Best seen near Doriskos, where we had a male singing from atop a bush and several pairs foraging low in the trees around our picnic lunch spot.
WOODCHAT SHRIKE (Lanius senator) – Common and widespread, with many fine views -- including the combative pair chasing each other from treetop to treetop on the cypresses near our Delphi hotel the final morning of the tour. This was the biggest of the tour's shrikes.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE (Oriolus oriolus) – We heard the mellow, liquid warble of this species on many days of the tour. Actually SEEING them was a bit more challenging, but we did manage on several days, with especially nice scope studies of some in the populars on the edge of Lake Kerkini.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
EURASIAN JAY (Garrulus glandarius) – One fleeing up the road at Doriskos distracted us briefly from our search for Olive-tree Warbler, but we had betters views at Lithotopos (on one pre-breakfast walk) and on Mount Olympus. This handsome corvid is far shyer than are most North American jays.

The loud, cheery songs of the Common Chaffinch were a regular part of the tour's soundtrack -- particularly in Dadia and around Delphi. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

EURASIAN MAGPIE (Pica pica) – Another widespread species, missing from only the highest mountains and thickest forests.
YELLOW-BILLED CHOUGH (Pyrrhocorax graculus) – This one was an 11th-hour save -- a trio found rummaging under the inactive chairlift at the second ski resort we visited on Mount Parnassos. Phew! I was worried that we were going to miss seeing one of the "group birds"!
EURASIAN JACKDAW (Corvus monedula) – Very common throughout, from our first (perched atop a chimney pot in a little village along the highway en route to the Evros delta, seen as we waited at a traffic light) to the busy colony along the main road in Litochoro. We didn't see them at all on the drier slopes around Delphi. [N]
HOODED CROW (Corvus cornix) – One of the handful of species we saw every day of the tour.
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax) – Scattered pairs, mostly in the highlands.
Alaudidae (Larks)
CALANDRA LARK (Melanocorypha calandra) – Some up displaying over the clover fields along the edge of Ptelea Lagoon, with others doing the same over fields around the Porto Lagos salt works. The very long, all-black underwing of this species -- and the bright white tips to its secondary feathers -- are unique among the larks.
GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK (Calandrella brachydactyla) – We heard several singing from the plowed fields along the road around the Ptelea Lagoon, but never really got a look at one. [*]
CRESTED LARK (Galerida cristata) – Quite common during the first week of the tour, with many seen well. That pointy crest is certainly distinctive!
SKY LARK (Alauda arvensis) – A few hovered over the open fields around Dadia, their lovely complex songs raining down from high above, but our best views came along the road near Ptelea Lagoon, where several displayed in the same skies as other lark species, inviting nice comparisons. We also saw one scuttling along on the roadside, where we could see its smaller crest.
WOOD LARK (Lullula arborea) – Our first was singing high above the Dadia Forest, little more than a flapping speck against a gray sky. Fortunately, we found a couple mooching through the short grass by our hotel the following morning -- giving us much better views. And we saw (and heard) others on the heights of Mount Parnassos.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) – Big numbers swirled over the watery lagoons at Drana and Anthia, and others quartered over Ptelea Lagoon. This is Europe's "Sand Martin".
EURASIAN CRAG-MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne rupestris) – Our best views came in Iasmos gorge, where a few glided back and forth along the river. A few caught glimpses of others spiraling beside the steep road down off Mount Parnassos.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Abundant throughout, with lots of nests -- including several over the doors into our Dadia hotel, and a burgeoning one (with four chicks resting their big mouths on the rim) on a light at a hotel near to ours in Delphi. [N]
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) – Seen nearly every day, though typically in far smaller numbers than the previous species. A few gathering nesting material from the ground in Delphi (seen on one pre-breakfast walk) allowed wonderful comparisons with nearby Barn Swallows. [N]
COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon urbicum) – Another species seen in good numbers every day, with the birds nesting under the eaves of our Fanari hotel giving us especially good chances to study them. [N]

A White Stork forages in a lovely field full of wildflowers near Lake Kerkini while a host of frogs and breeding birds shouts in the background. Video by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
COAL TIT (Periparus ater) – One of our first stops on Mount Olympus netted us fine views of a couple as they circled around us. That white patch on the nape (like a giant thumbprint) is diagnostic.
CRESTED TIT (Lophophanes cristatus) – And at the same stop, we also had fine views of one of these distinctive tits, with its sharply pointed, striped crest.
SOMBRE TIT (Poecile lugubris) – One danced through the pines at the base of the Rock Petronia colony's cliff, but our best view came on our final pre-breakfast walk, when we found a busy adult with a mouthful of food near our hotel.
EURASIAN BLUE TIT (Cyanistes caeruleus) – Seen on scattered days, including a few around our Dadia hotel's parking lot on our first morning there, a couple of busy birds along a track near Lake Kerkini, and others flitting through the trees on both Mount Olympus and Mount Parnassos.
GREAT TIT (Parus major) – Easily the most common tit of the tour, seen in virtually every habitat -- including the middle of towns.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
EURASIAN PENDULINE-TIT (Remiz pendulinus) – Lovely eye-level views of one along the track we walked near Veronia (our day around Lake Kerkini), with another busily provisioning a nest (and discarding fecal sacs) along a watery channel at the end of the day there.
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
LONG-TAILED TIT (Aegithalos caudatus) – A noisy little family group swarmed along a steep hillside in Dadia Forest -- with many conveniently at eye level for us, as we watched from the top of the hill. These tiny birds don't sit still for long!
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
EURASIAN NUTHATCH (Sitta europaea) – Our first was busy ferrying mouthfuls to a nest high above the parking lot at the monastery on Mount Olympus -- great spotting, Steve K! We found another sitting outside another nest on Mount Parnassos. Like many nuthatches, this species reuses old woodpecker holes, filling the entry hole in with mud to make it smaller -- just big enough for a nuthatch to squeeze through. [N]

A male Subalpine Warbler pauses for a moment, resting between trips to its nest with mouthfuls of food. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

ROCK NUTHATCH (Sitta neumayer) – Seen especially well at Delphi's ancient ruins, where they bounced across the foundations of several buildings, sang from the remaining columns of Apollo's temple and nested (an impressively large, gourd-shaped structure) on the back wall of the Athenian treasury. [N]
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER (Certhia brachydactyla) – A roadside bird in Dadia proved elusive for some; fortunately, another bird near the monastery on Mount Olympus proved to be more cooperative, foraging for long minutes right over the parking lot.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
EURASIAN WREN (Troglodytes troglodytes) – We heard several on Mount Olympus, but actually getting a look at one proved rather difficult; eventually, we found a male with a territory on both sides of a narrow track, and by ranging ourselves along the trail, most finally got a look at him as he flitted through the fabulously mossy undergrowth, singing challenges to his nearby rivals.
Regulidae (Kinglets)
FIRECREST (Regulus ignicapilla) – Common in the highlands of both Mount Olympus and Mount Parnassos, including one displaying his fiery crest near our picnic lunch spot on Mount Olympus.
Cettiidae (Bush-Warblers and Allies)
CETTI'S WARBLER (Cettia cetti) – After hearing many of these shouting from bushes and reedbeds along the country's waterways, we finally laid eyes on one that sat up for long minutes along a channel near our picnic spot outside Pagouria.

The wildflowers were blooming all over Greece, making for some lovely backdrops. This is a clover, but I'm not sure which one. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (Phylloscopus collybita) – We heard one singing in a big stand of trees around a campground near our Fanari hotel, and another up the hill from the parking lot at the monastery on Mount Olympus, but never connected visually with either one. It's certainly easy to see (or rather, hear) how the species got its name! [*]
EASTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus orientalis) – It took some patience and persistence, but we all finally got very good looks at one (or several!) among the oaks in Dadia Forest. As we saw, this species regularly hover-gleans at the very tips of branches.
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER (Iduna pallida) – This was our first warbler of the trip, seen as we worked our way along the edge of the Acropolis grounds on our first morning. It was over the fence, but fortunately close enough that we finally picked it out as it foraged its way through a tree, occasionally bursting into song. We saw another singing bird well atop a shrub near the Lithotopos harbor. And we heard many, many more!
OLIVE-TREE WARBLER (Hippolais olivetorum) – Several of these big warblers led us on a merry chase around our picnic grove in Doriskos, but we finally caught up with one in a small (appropriate!) olive tree.
EURASIAN REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) – A pair flicked through dense reeds along a channel at the edge of Lake Kerkini, periodically appearing in an open gap or perching on a horizontal reed.
GREAT REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) – One singing from a reed bed along the road, seen as we drove towards our Kerkini taverna dinner, showed us his bright red mouth lining.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis) – One made multiple bounding display flights over the shrubby grassland at the end of the road beside Ptelea Lagoon, singing his loud "zit zit zit" song.
Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers)
EURASIAN BLACKCAP (Sylvia atricapilla) – Our first was a male that flicked through the populars lining a campground in Fanari; it defied identification for long minutes, it was initially so well hidden! Fortunately, we found a far more cooperative male foraging along a track near Veronia early on our day around Lake Kerkini.
LESSER WHITETHROAT (Sylvia curruca) – One of the last new birds of the trip -- a pair of birds twitching through a scraggly bush alongside the road down from the ski stations on Mount Parnassos. Good spotting, Sue!
EASTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER (Sylvia crassirostris) – The rich, loud warbles of this species were heard emanating from hedges on several days, but our best views came near Dadia, when a male perched up on some bare emergent sticks in a clump along one field edge.
RUEPPELL'S WARBLER (Sylvia rueppelli) – One on a dry hillside west of Delphi showed pretty well, but the dapper singer on the slope of Mount Parnassos was even better!
SUBALPINE WARBLER (Sylvia cantillans) – One twitched through some trees along the path at Iasmos gorge, giving at least some of the group a pretty good view. Fortunately for those who missed that one, we had in-your-face views of another singing male near the Rock Petronia colony west of Delphi, and still more on Mount Parnassos.
SARDINIAN WARBLER (Sylvia melanocephala) – A male flicked through trees near the fence around the agora complex in Athens our first morning, showing us his red eye-ring nicely.
GREATER WHITETHROAT (Sylvia communis) – Our first, in a farm field near Dadia, was decidedly less than cooperative, showing briefly only for a few. Fortunately, we found a much bolder bird singing from a huge stand of thistles near the beach at Porto Lagos -- though it couldn't quite compete with the quavering amplified voice of the old priest singing the service in a nearby church!

The gang takes a break for a picture along the edge of Lake Kerkini. The mountains in the background form the country's border with Bulgaria. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) – Another declining species which is still common in Greece -- particularly around Delphi! A female working on her nest (arranging her mouthfuls of spider and caterpillar silk just so and wriggling around to make sure the fit was just right) in a tree around the corner from our hotel was particularly enjoyable. [N]
EUROPEAN ROBIN (Erithacus rubecula) – Some nice looks around Litochoro, including one singing in the gully near our hotel (seen on our pre-breakfast walk there) and a very confiding bird hopping around at our feet during our picnic lunch on Mount Olympus, cleaning up the scraps.
COMMON NIGHTINGALE (Luscinia megarhynchos) – Fine looks at one perched up and singing on a bare branch near Dadia one afternoon, another seen very well singing from a bush near where we spotted our Lesser Gray Shrike, and still more around Lake Kerkini. Thank goodness for hormones -- which make this normally-skulking species MUCH easier to see in the spring!
EUROPEAN PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hypoleuca) – One seemed to have laid claim to some woodpecker holes in a telephone pole near Dadia's Forest Inn. It sang (wings flicking) from nearby telephone wires, and regularly ducked into and out of the various holes.
BLACK REDSTART (Phoenicurus ochruros) – A male danced across a rock face at one of the ski resorts on Mount Parnassos, occasionally breaking into his scratchy song.
RUFOUS-TAILED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola saxatilis) – Wow! A gorgeous male suddenly appeared among the rocks and twisted metal at the edge of a ski resort parking lot -- nice spotting, Merrill!
BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola solitarius) – One sang from a rocky peak at Iasmos gorge, looking decidedly blue, another flicked across a rock face west of Delphi, and some saw a third perched (incongruously) on a telephone wire as we descended from Mount Parnassos. Numbers of this species appear to be dropping precipitously around Delphi.

Rock Nuthatches were abundant around Delphi; this one was nesting right on the Athenian Treasury building! Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

EUROPEAN STONECHAT (Saxicola rubicola rubicola) – A busy pair hunting in the maquis scrub around Delphi were among the highlights of our early morning west of town. We saw others near the top of the slope on Mount Parnassos.
NORTHERN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe) – A few in the rocky fields of the country's east (including a male nearly side-by-side with a male Black-eared Wheatear for wonderful comparison near Doriskos), with others in the highlands of Mount Olympus.
BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR (Oenanthe hispanica) – Especially nice views of a pair hunting along a roadside near Doriskos, with others on the stony hillside near our Dadia hotel and on the rocky cliffs around Delphi and Mount Parnassos. Some of the males showed a full black face, while others showed only a slim mask.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) – Widespread throughout, with good views of one singing from high in a Grecian Fir on Mount Parnassos.
MISTLE THRUSH (Turdus viscivorus) – We heard one singing from the forest near our picnic spot on Mount Parnassos -- in nice counterpoint to a closer Eurasian Blackbird -- but we just couldn't find it. [*]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – Though this species is declining precipitously across much of Europe, it was still common and widespread throughout most of Greece.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (BLACK-HEADED) (Motacilla flava feldegg) – This handsome subspecies is the one that breeds in Greece. As we saw along the little stream near Dadia, it is decidedly yellow!
GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea) – Our first was one waggling its way along the shore (and the little wooden dam) in the Iasmos Gorge. But our best views came in the Prionia parking lot, at the end of the road up Mount Olympus.
WHITE WAGTAIL (WHITE-FACED) (Motacilla alba alba) – Seen on scattered days, with particularly nice views of one singing from the roof of the Dadia visitor's center. We had others near the harbor in Lithotopos, and one waggling across a parking lot in Litochoro.
TAWNY PIPIT (Anthus campestris) – Super views of one perched up in a small bush at our first stop on Mount Parnassos, with others swirling along the edge of the parking lot at one of the ski resorts higher up. The complete lack of streaking on front or back of this species is distinctive.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
CIRL BUNTING (Emberiza cirlus) – Males singing from telephone wires and treetops were highlights of our pre-breakfast walks at Lake Kerkini, and we had others at Dadia and Delphi, and on Mount Parnassos.
ORTOLAN BUNTING (Emberiza hortulana) – Great studies of one along a rocky cliff face near the turnoff to our picnic lunch spot in Doriskos.
BLACK-HEADED BUNTING (Emberiza melanocephala) – Very common on the first few days of the tour, with dozens -- presumably grounded migrants -- on the roads (and in the fields) of Drana and Anthia, and many singing males sprinkled on bush tops and telephone wires around Dadia.
CORN BUNTING (Emberiza calandra) – Seen particularly well around Dadia (and Drana), where they were almost ridiculously common.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
COMMON CHAFFINCH (Fringilla coelebs) – Especially common around Delphi, where we saw plenty on our pre-breakfast walks, and Dadia, where their songs were a regular part of the tour soundtrack.

An Ortolan Bunting sings near Doriskos, unaware that drawing attention to himself might some day consign him to the pot. The French still regularly eat Ortolans as a delicacy, despite the fact that hunting and capturing them is now illegal. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

EURASIAN BULLFINCH (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) – We heard several calling from the forest on Mount Olympus -- a slow, down-slurred whistle from high in the pines above us as we climbed down the long series of steps to the stream. [*]
EUROPEAN GREENFINCH (Chloris chloris aurantiiventris) – Good views on several days, including some perched up and singing near the (always closed) Kerkini visitor's center in Lithotopos, and others on telephone wires near the church in Litochoro. The subspecies found in Greece is notably yellower than that of northern Europe.
EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) – Especially nice views of these common birds in a big stand of thistles at the start of one of our walks near Lake Kerkini.
EURASIAN LINNET (Carduelis cannabina) – Our first were bounding dots, flying past at Doriskos. Fortunately, we eventually had much better views of a little gang of them among the rocky outcroppings (and parking lot) at one of the ski resorts on Mount Parnassos. The male was fabulously pink!
EUROPEAN SERIN (Serinus serinus) – With a bit of patience, we all finally got nice views of a bright yellow male perched up and singing from a Grecian Fir on Mount Parnassos. He looked great against the blue, blue sky.
HAWFINCH (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) – Two rummaging on the ground in the Dadia Forest were ultimately cooperative, letting everybody get a good look. Some of us had another gathering nesting material in the parking lot of the Forest Inn, and we saw others whizz past in flight. [N]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Abundant pretty much everywhere, particularly in towns and villages, with dozens nesting in cracks and crevices and roof tiles throughout. [N]

Great Tits were widespread, found on many days of the tour. Photo by participant Merrill Lester.

SPANISH SPARROW (Passer hispaniolensis) – The "condominium dwellers" under the White Stork nest in Doriskos certainly provided some entertainment, turning the tour all x-rated. [N]
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus) – A trio of males flicked -- one, two, three -- through some small trees along a track near Dadia, getting our late afternoon walk off to a good start.
ROCK PETRONIA (Petronia petronia) – It definitely took some time and patience, but we got there in the end! A colony near Delphi was located just out of our view (a bit below where we could see from the road), and its inhabitants were busily flying to and fro gathering nesting materials and food. Eventually, though, some of them paused to rest or preen on rocks near the edge of rock pile, and we got the scope on them. Success!

EUROPEAN RED SQUIRREL (Sciurus vulgaris) – Some of the group saw a well-hidden individual that Lefteris spotted high in a Grecian Fir on Mount Parnassos. Unfortunately, it slipped into a dense part of the vegetation and got away.
NUTRIA (Myocastor coypus) – One along the bank at Lake Kerkini looked rather like a clump of mud -- until it started ambling along the shore. This species was introduced from South America for the fur trade.
EUROPEAN POND TURTLE (Emys orbicularis) – We saw one poised and sunning on a partially submerged log at the start of a track we walked near Lake Kerkini one morning. This species has a spotted (rather than striped) head and neck.
MARGINATED TORTOISE (Testudo marginata) – We saw one of these big tortoises -- notable for the large "skirt" of scutes on their back end -- munching grass in the cemetery at the edge of ancient Athens.
BALKAN (GREEK MARSH) FROG (Pelophylax kurtmuelleri) – The green frogs we saw (and heard -- in deafening numbers!) around Lake Kerkini were this species, which was split from the Marsh Frog in the 1990s, based primarily on acoustical differences between the two.
MARSH FROG (Pelophylax ridibundus) – The green frogs we saw in the puddles near Doriskos were this species; although widespread across much of Europe and Asia, in Greece they're restricted to the northeastern corner of the country.
EUROPEAN GREEN LIZARD (Lacerta viridis) – At least one of these bright green lizards scurried around on the rocks of Iasmos gorge.
ERHARD'S WALL LIZARD (Podarcis erhardii) – We saw plenty of these small brownish lizards (some with pale "racing stripes" running the length of their bodies), particularly on warm, stony ground around Delphi.


Totals for the tour: 181 bird taxa and 2 mammal taxa