September 2010

September’s observation of birds and sampling in the Sani wetlands completed the year-long project.  Until now 214 species of birds have been recorded, a number that shows the high biodiversity value of this particular area.

September is a time when many species of water birds are recorded migrating south. One of these is the garganey, a species of which dozens of birds were recorded (a total 119). Moreover, malards, coots, wigeons, shovelers, pintails, teals, pochards, ferruginous ducks and little crebes were also recorded. The population of coots and little crebes was significantly increased from July to September (from 426 to 1559 coots and from 134 to 320 little crebes). This increase is probably due to population movements from neighbouring wetlands in Northern Greece.

In September autumn migration reaches its peak for many heron species. The largest population recorded in this period was that of little egrets, of which 412 were recorded, closely followed in number by the grey heron population. The number of purple herons observed, 42,  is also considered remarkable; this species is usually recorded in smaller numbers of a few or solitary birds and the sightings of  larger gatherings, like the ones observed in the Sani wetlands, are very rare.

Many species of water birds were recorded travelling south. The most common were the spotted redshank, the wood sandpiper, the little stilt, the curlew sandpiper, the greenshank and the black-winged stilt. The most important sighting spots for the water birds were the northwest and the southeast section of the Gerani wetlands, as well as the north section of the Stavronikita wetland where there are many grasslands and low, muddy growth.

Migratory birds in their trip to Africa were also observed among the passerines. The presence of the following was relatively frequent: the red-backed shrike near the grasslands and pine forest edges, the yellow wagtail in the wetland areas that were overflowing with water, the turtle dove in sunflower fields, the wheatear, the short-toed lark, the tawny pipit and whinchat in clear fields, the reed warbler and sedge warbler in the reedbeds and lastly the willow warbler and spotted flycatcher in the pine forests and tree-covered farmland.

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