August 2010

During the month of August, 87 species were recorded. Two of these were observed for the first time in the Sani wetlands, raising the number of total species from 208 to 210.

August marks the beginning of the migration and dispersion period for many species of water birds. We noticed the arrival of duck species from further north (Central and Northern Europe), such as the wigeon, the pintail, the teal and the shoveler. The species with the largest population was the garganey, for which flocks of dozens were frequent during all observation days. This species of duck is quite common in Greece during the spring and autumn migration season.

Seven different kinds of heron were spotted. In August, many herons species congregate in large flocks in preparation for their migration south. These gatherings take place in wetlands that are rich in food (fish and amphibian populations). Birds remain there for two or three weeks in order to collect supplies before leaving on their long and tiring trip towards the south. The Sani wetlands are such a place and despite their relatively small size they host many herons during summer. Indicatively, in August 163 little egrets, 94 grey herons, 22 squacco herons, 18 purple herons, 12 great white herons and 5 night herons were recorded. The presence of a flock of 32 spoonbills was also considered important.

In late August migration for many water birds reaches its peak. The variety and the population of birds was wide and 20 different species were recorded. The most numerous of these, in terms of population in flocks, were the black-winged stilt, little stilt, wood sandpiper, greenshank and curlew sandpiper. The enormous variety of species was completed by marsh sandpipers, redshanks, spotted redshanks, black-tailed godwit, turnstones, common sandpipers, green sandpipers, broad-billed sandpipers, snipes, ringed plover etc. Strangely, a lapwing was also observed, although its kind is usually only found in Greek wetlands during the winter months.

Migratory birds in their trip to Africa were also spotted amongst the passerines. On several occasions, red-backed shrikes were spotted in the pine forest’s edges, yellow wagtail in overflowed wetland lakes, turtle doves in the sunflower crops, wheatears and whinchat in the open lands, reed warbler and sedge warbler in reedbeds and willow warblers among the pines and olive trees.

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