Monday, April 15, 2013

8th Athens Bird Race - Tritsis Park

Saturday April 13th, 2013

Tritsis Park (or Pyrgos Vassilisis = Queen's Tower, formerly) is an area of remarkable parkland on the western edge of the great city of Athens. This is traditionally the location our annual Bird Race comes to an end - finishing time is usually at 19:00 sharp. 

Here, some of Greece's most famous amateur birders and several new-comers meet at the end of a fine day of racing. Let me rephrase: after frantically searching all-day for birds. I won't give bird stats here this time since our team, the "Sainia" (Levant Sparrowhawks), was poorly represented. In fact, the team consisted of only Vassilis Hatzirvassanis and I this year. And we certainly did good to get out of our home-offices....We focused solely on the Park itself...we birded for just two hours but we did mange to see 21 species. (I was taking pics mostly and all that follow below are from this amazing Athenian park!). It was pretty crowded with people but we did find some fine spots with a view. 

Anyway there is a strong social aspect to birding and bird racing. I also post pics of some of the most famous people at the meet: I'm sure some of you know these personalities, some have been around a long time and in all seriousness, some of these people have left their mark in Athens - and beyond....

Look for: Probonas, Papaconstantinou, Latsoudis, Stavrakas, Katerinopoulous, Trigou, Tzali, Fric, Kastritis, Manolopoulos, Portolou, Kaltsis, "Tsaf", Gaitanakis, Leontidis, Kaniatsas, Adrianopoulos, Stephanaki, Kakalis (who came over from Lesvos...) and several more....

Thanks to the volunteers!!!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Scuba Clean-Up by Dikelas Dive Center - Karystos

April 14th 2013

Met some nice people over at Karystos this Sunday's visit. They participated in a low-key tidy-up of the west beach of Karystos organized by the Dikelas Dive Center. The sea was so beautiful but still rather cool and crisp (at around 17 C at the shallower parts). This weekend outing combined both this small-scale clean-up, socializing with the locals and a diving lesson. What better way to spend a day-trip east of Athens!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Karystos Wetland & Paximada: With Family

Mid April 2013

On weekends I sometimes go over to Karystos (on the Island of Euboea). My son and my partner join me-we take a drive over to Paximada to walk in the phrygana scrub along the shore; I sneak a peak at the wetland. The Karystos Plain Wetland. As people who know me well should know, this is the place I have studied as a youth - and it is very close to my heart. In winter and spring on good years large areas are flooded - wet meadows, open ephemeral pools, rushbeds, reedbeds and abandoned grazed feilds. Its an important wetland for birds and wildlife in general. But nobody would ever support any attempt to save it - its on private land. The private land owners and the public in general would never concieve of setting up a protected area - even a thin strip of greenspace. Some of the photos below even show some new unfinished buildings in the wetland. These were intentionally built to try to "stop" any conservation efforts there. So...this is really a "temporary wetland". (Sorry for being rather sarcastic in such a sacred conservation battleground).

On this Sunday drive it was soooooooooo windy - that you couldn't even hold up a camera. Anyway, these are some results:

  • Two Glossy Ibises were about and aloud very close views;
  • Most of the sandpipers where Wood Sandpipers; but the odd Ruff is also visible as are two Little-ringed plovers;

For me, and my impatient teen son - that's enough. My partner even picked a couple of Anamones for her mother. How sweet....