Bird Watching Holidays to the Aegean Island of Lesbos
The island of Lesbos is ideal for bird watching holidays. Home to many migratory birds as well as resident and breeding species, it is a birding paradise.
When you think of bird watching holidays your mind may immediately stray to South America or Africa, but in reality you don't have to travel very far from the UK to witness some of the most wonderful of our planet’s avian species. Lesbos is a prime example of what an island in the Aegean has to offer the dedicated bird watcher.
Lying close to the Turkish mainland, Lesbos is relatively isolated. It is the third largest of the Greek islands, but has remained largely under the tourism radar when compared with many of its neighbours. Its economy relies very much on its production of olive oil and ouzo, which it exports, but since the early 1990s, the island has established a reputation as a prime bird watching destination. It hosts the migration of many key species that you may well never see in other areas of the Mediterranean. There is no doubt the island holds plenty of excitement for those visiting to spend time with its avian community.
If you're considering booking bird watching holidays on Lesbos, ensure you book with a company that promotes small groups, employs a local guide and has an itinerary that covers the diverse areas of the island. It is surprising how many parts of the island have remained undiscovered for so long when you consider the astounding array of birdlife that graces the skies. The rich diversity of habitat on the island - ranging from rocky mountains to forested hills and from undulating lowlands to rugged pastureland - has made it a prime habitat for both migratory and resident avian species. The coastal areas of the island boast saltpans, rock pools and river mouths, which are all very attractive to the water birds on their travels to warmer climes.
Although good bird watching holidays include excursions all over the island, many are based in Skala Kalloni, which in itself is a haven for bird life. Even before breakfast you can head out and tick some high profile names off your wish list. The Kalloni Two Pool is not far from any of the hotels in the town and is the ideal place to see the island’s wader population, which includes the Little and Temminck’s Stints, Wood Sandpiper and Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers, as well as the stunning Purple Heron.
During your exploration of Lesbos, you may find yourself travelling to the East River in search of Little Bittern and Spotted Crakes, along with White Storks and Little Egrets. Either side of the river, wildflower meadows stretch into the distance and are home to Whinchats, Shrikes and a host of other migrant birds. At the Kalloni saltpans, the most productive water habitat on Lesbos, it is the Little Stints and the Wood Sandpipers that dominate, but don’t forget to look out for the Red-footed Falcons that tend to gather up on the telegraph wires here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you’re looking for bird watching holidays, Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to polar expeditions and tours to other spectacular regions on Earth.