I used to be drained, as if it had been my shoulders that held the sky suspended… A lot in order that I made no birding plans for this trip. Oh, I introduced the binoculars, all proper, which birder in his/her sane thoughts leaves house with out it, however we had been going to a peninsula with no apparent birding spots, and most birding might be executed by chance, from the roadside.
After which, just a few days forward of our journey, a British birder Clive Mason left a remark beneath my outdated weblog on birding Lake Karla, simply north of the Pelion Peninsula in central Greece, saying that he might be within the space subsequent week.
If it weren’t for Clive, I’d most likely miss the chance, however per week later we had been there collectively. Shaped in a tectonic despair at first of the Quaternary interval, 2.58 million years in the past, this wetland occupied many of the japanese a part of the Thessaly Plains. It was shallow, with depths not exceeding 2 m / 6.5 ft, and relying on the season, its floor space fluctuated from 40 km2/15 mi2 to 180 km2/70 mi2.
In Sixties, beneath the wheels of misguided progress, it was drained. It was solely then that the native farmers realized the soil was too salty for good yields. And all that water and the environmental providers coming with it, had been misplaced.
With the EU funds, the restoration began in 2009 when embankments had been constructed to create one giant and 6 extra small reservoirs. What’s now recreated of the lake the place the god Apollo was married and the place the Argonauts constructed their kingdom is formally referred to as the Reservoirs of the previous Lake Karla. The lake IBA has about 230 thus far eBirded species. It was an odd feeling to be again on the “former lake” which I birded in 2019, earlier than the pandemic.
We began on the southernmost nook, birding all the best way to its northern finish (all however the western embankment). The day began with one of many highest birds, a juvenile Masked Shrike effectively seen a number of metres away (later we are going to see one other juvenile, do adults begin migrating earlier?). A Cirl Bunting, a number of of many Northern Wheatears of the day, a Blue Rock Thrush (that solely Clive noticed!), Pink-rumped Swallows, a Crested Lark, a number of Pink-backed Shrikes (each adults and juveniles), Eurasian Golden Oriole, a number of Lesser Kestrels, Syrian Woodpecker, Brief-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Spoonbills and a Squacco Heron, Pygmy Cormorants (a lifer for Clive), one Mediterranean Gull, Redshank, Greenshank, European Turtle Dove…
From the south, we moved to the japanese embankment, driving alongside the grime observe beneath it: Whinchat, European Bee-eater, two Brief-toed Eagles, one posing on an electrical energy pylon simply forward of us, then a useless, electrocuted White Stork hanging from the subsequent one, Frequent Ringed Plover…
And from there, we tried to seek out some tavern to refresh ourselves within the close by village of Kanalia, however there have been none to be seen, so we headed north. A center of the street cease inside (almond?) orchards for Black Redstart, Noticed Flycatcher, a number of Willow Warblers and one Eurasian Reed Warbler, three Sombre Tits. At Pirgos Level, farther north, there have been a Black Stork, Collared Pranticole, a number of immature Larger Flamingos, Dunlins and Little Stints. And on our means again, one other Lesser Kestrel and a Levant Sparrowhawk.
A terrific day, due to Clive. Checking the eBird now, a bunch of native birders visited the lake a dozen days later, to seek out 200 Spanish Sparrows, Jap Black-eared Wheatear, Western Rock Nuthatch, Sardinian and Cetti’s Warblers, Zitting Cisticolas and Calandra Larks, Woodchat Shrike, Caspian Tern, Temminck’s Stint – that we dipped! Now I really feel like going again!!