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Lesvos – spring on an Aegean island

Carpets of flowers, olive groves and birding on the beautiful island of Lesvos in the Aegean Sea.

From the pleasant fishing harbour of Skala Kalloni we will explore the lovely island of Lesvos, one of the largest in the Aegean. The island is now famous for its birdlife and we have timed this holiday to catch the best of the spring migration and the arrival of many birds that will breed on the island as well as the spring flowers.

We should enjoy pleasant temperatures and quiet walks before the majority of tourists arrive. The trip is an ideal introduction to the flowers and birds of the eastern Mediterranean as well as a chance to see some of the more localised species.

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Our hotel is within walking distance of the Kalloni wetlands which contain the prime birding spots on the island, often with large numbers of waders, herons and terns. Birds that can be found in the marshes and salt pans here include glossy ibis, black and white stork, greater flamingo, purple and squacco heron, great white egret, avocet, black-winged stilt, ruff, wood sandpiper, Kentish plover, stone curlew and whiskered, gull-billed and white-winged terns.

During the week we will be visiting many parts of the island – visiting the rolling hills and pastures of the west and the sweet chestnut and pine woods of the southern mountains. We will also look for the special birds such as Krüper’s nuthatch, Rüppell’s warbler, rock nuthatch and both cinereous and ortolan buntings.

 

There will also be time to see and enjoy the other wildlife to be found on the island and we should see many spring flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, frogs and lizards.

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Wildlife Travel Lesvos 2015

Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.

Dates

5 – 12 May 2018

Leaders

Philip Precey and Laurie Jackson

Price

£1,545
Single Room Supplement – £100

Included

Return flights – UK to Lesvos. Local transport as specified in itinerary. Seven nights’ accommodation, breakfast, evening meals, five picnic lunches.

Not included

Two lunches. Drinks and refreshments. Gratuities. Travel insurance.

Lesvos is still an undiscovered island for many, despite being the third largest in Greece and close to the Turkish mainland. It is relatively undeveloped and retains its rural culture, interspersed with a few attractive towns and villages

Day 1 – Fly to Mytilini and transfer to Skala Kalloni (c 1.5 hours).

Day 2 – We spend the day exploring the marshes and river to the east of Skala Kalloni.

Day 3 – We drive north to coastal headlands to look for Rüppell’s and subalpine warblers before continuing on to the attractive fishing harbour of Molyvos.

Day 4 –  An excursion to the south of the island near Agiassos on the slopes of Mount Olympus to explore the olive terraces, chestnut woods and limestone hillsides looking for flowers and stopping at Achladeri woods to look for Krüper’s nuthatch.

Day 5 – We drive to the Kalloni salt pans to explore the channels, marshes and beach.

Day 6 – An excursion to the west of the island to look for wildlife of the dryer habitats, including the area of the petrified forest and the hills around Ipsilou Monastery.

Day 7 – We visit the hillside village of Petri for a walk on the terraces, which are good for butterflies and flowers as well as birds. After lunch in a taverna we will visit the monastery at Limonos, where numerous small chapels are found in a beautiful, tranquil valley.

Day 8 – After breakfast it is time to take our return journey to the airport.

Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities or at the discretion of the leaders

The Malemi Hotel is well situated in the ’birding capital’ of Skala Kalloni. A family run hotel, it has been catering for bird watching groups for many years after being the first to highlight the wonderful birdlife to be found locally. The hotel is surrounded by gardens and is only a few seconds walk from a small, quiet beach. All rooms are en-suite.

Evening meals will be at the hotel and we will have picnic lunches on most days. On others, lunch can be taken at local tavernas (not included).

We will travel by small coach.

The group flights are with Thomas Cook Airlines from London Gatwick.

5 May depart London Gatwick 06.40, arrive Mytilini 12.35
12 May depart Mytilini 13.35, arrive London Gatwick 15.25

Lesvos is two hours ahead of the UK.

Direct flights from Manchester (early departure) with Thomas Cook Airlines may also be possible or flights from London Heathrow via Athens with Aegean Airlines – contact us. It is possible to extend your holiday if you wish.

At this time of year the weather is usually sunny but not too hot. There may be some cooler weather and some rain.

On the first day we will be walking for much of the day, but on relatively flat ground. On other days, most walks are much shorter and none of the walking is strenuous. On some mornings we will start early but the pace will generally be relaxed with time to enjoy the surroundings and take photos as well as look at the birds. All excursions are optional.