Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Rufous bush robin

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to photograph this bird in the fields beyond the Kalloni salt pans. I had watched bee eaters using a bush to perch and rest and decided to stake it out and try for a close up. The bee eaters were much too aware to come anywhere near me but the bush chat quickly arrived and seemed very agitated, it hopped about in the bottom of the bush and I became aware of a second bird there too, they squared up (all out of camera reach) and suddenly one attacked and as they thrashed about I managed to get one fairly clear shot of the fight in picture one. The victor then postured beautifully in pictures two and three and finally flew up and sang. I do not think it was aware of me at all and it eventually flew off to patrol another part of its territory.

Thread lacewing

One of the most striking insects I have seen in Lesvos, very delicate, quite common, an insect you would struggle to tire of, we have seen this on all three trips here and this one was photographed in the Potamia valley

Lesvos shrikes

The first bird is a fine male Red backed shrike, photographed in a glade in the Achladeri forest, the remaining pictures are of a male Masked shrike which is Europes smallest, photographed in an Olive grove in the Potamia valley

Lesvos butterflies

Just a small selection of the array of butterflies that Les & I found, I think number one is a type of Apollo, number two is a Blue, three is probably a fritillary and four is perhaps a Greek clouded yellow

Egrets and bitterns

With the water levels quite low the heron family were taking advantage of the shrinking pools to mop up whatever fish remained. The Great white egrets gave great photo opportunities this one was coming in to join the pair of little egrets at the salt pans in picture three. The Little bittern was seen skulking (as usual) in the water margins and finally the Black winged stilts were very tame.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Interesting insects

Number one was a (Scolia flavifrons)Mammoth wasp (yes really) Europes largest wasp, and very clolourful, in my ignorance I took it to be a type of hornet, but found the ID on one of the many blogs that include insects from Lesvos.
Numbers two and three were Striped shieldbugs (Graphosoma italicum) and very smart they were too, reminiscent of miniature football fans.
The little black bee is for me the most unbelievable flier  have come across, how can those tiny wings manage to propel it into the air but they do to great effect
Some of the Lesvos ants were Leviathans in their own right , the one pictured was carrying part of the carapace of an unfortunate beetle, they had dismembered.
And finally this handsome beetle which we found a few of remains unidentified.

In the past I had found Black storks to be very shy of man but this holiday proved that to be complete nonsense, they would fish in the river adjacent to camermen in their vehicles or fly low over the marshes and the birders there, I had never seen so many, they seemed to easily outnumber the White's.

The White stork on it's nest was oblivious to all the Spanish sparrows nesting in the lower storeys of it's nest, and I heard from another birder that he had also seen a Little owl sitting in the side of the same nest.


I have not even tried to identify these beautiful dragonflies, knowing how many there are on Lesvos, but I would be happy to hear from anyone who could ID them, my email address is at the top. They were mostly taken in the Potamia valley. Most of these were taken with my new Sigma 150mm f2.8. but some were taken on my Nikon 300mm F2.8.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Whiskered tern

A little more shy than the other terns, the whiskered seemed quite aggressive to other species, taken at the Kalloni pools, and at the saltpans


These were the most interesting caterpilars we found on Lesvos, Les found the top one in the grasslands near the Kalloni pools and once we got our 'eye in' we found them quite numerous and as long as a mans longest finger. The other picture was of processionary spiders we found in the Potamia valley

White winged tern

A beautiful looking tern but devilishly difficult to capture in flight, all the pictures were taken at the Kalloni salt pans. In the last picture there are a number of little stints and two curlew sandpipers just out of focus.


Here are a selection of some of the spiders we saw in various parts of Lesvos, the first was quite common and as you can see appeared to be smiling from the rear.
Number two and three was a Philaeus chrysops (male) small but colourful.
Number four was a Salticidae species, a type of jumping spider, again not very large.
Number four was found under a large rock in the Achladeri forest and appeared to be a black widow spider type, and was in her nest with her large brood.
And finally number six was in the grassland near the Kalloni pools and was very small.
Any help in ID would be appreciated, my email address near the top of the blog.