October 2009

October 2009

From the very first day of sampling it became clear that the wetland was in a much better condition than I had expected. The main habitats (pine forest, reeds, sand dunes, wetland and other plant life) were also in excellent condition, although some of them only cover a small area. There is little interference from human activities, if we except some hunting in the Gerani wetland. The most important thing is that in just a few days I was able to spot 73 species of bird. This is a number to satisfy the most demanding of birdwatchers. October is not the best month for observation, because most of the migrating birds have completed their autumn migration and those that winter here have not yet arrived. More specifically, of the 73 species observed, 8 were seen for the first time, bringing the total list of species from 180 to 188. As for water birds, nine different species of ducks were recorded. Bearing in mind the size of the Sani wetlands, this is quite a high number, comparable to that seen in the much larger wetlands of northern Greece.

Four different species of herons were observed, and in significant numbers for this time of year. But the most important observation was of two black storks, very rare in western Europe. Here in Greece they breed mainly in Thrace and eastern Macedonia; they are very uncommon in western Macedonia and Epirus.

Among raptors I observed seven different species. Although these are not rare birds (common buzzard, goshawk, march harrier, peregrine falcon) and can be seen in many Greek wetlands, here at Sani luxury resort in Greece I had the opportunity to see them all from one point within a space of just twenty minutes!

There was only a limited variety of waders and sea birds, for different reasons. In the case of the latter October is a little early to see them, while disturbance from hunters at the Gerani wetland is the main reason why only four kinds of wader were seen, and only in small numbers. The snipe was the one found in the largest numbers, and was relatively easy to observe and photograph.

Finally, a large range of species of passerines were to be observed, in various habitats. There were significant concentrations of European starlings, which we can expect to increase in number as winter approaches, and large flocks, too, of goldfinches, greenfinches, willow warblers, stonechats, song thrushes, etc.

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