Sunday, 10 June 2018

Greece, Day 8 - a grand finale in Athens! 12th April 2018

The final day in Greece dawned hotter and sunnier. We checked out of the hotel at 8am and visited our first site quickly before moving on to the site of the Ancient Agora. I was slightly tired and not awake enough yet to be in any birding form (if that exists.) The Ancient Agora was fascinating, and some of the history that our guide talked about was interesting. While he spoke I stretched my neck and watched a bird fly directly overhead, with black and white wings. Incredibly I was tired enough to ignore it, until I realised my stupidity and looked to where it had flown to. A pleasant surprise, in the capital Athens, was this Hoopoe. Urban Birding magic! I got a distant picture before we moved on. 
We soon visited a museum while the Hoopoe began singing distantly. Once we had learnt more about the area through a small talk in the museum we left the museum as everyone wanted the fresh air. As soon as I opened the door the song of a Western Bonelli's Warbler could be heard in the trees outside. I went to the tree immediately and a bird was flitting right near the canopy, while another flew off. A couple of frustrating minutes left me with few views and even fewer pictures. It took a little while to figure out why I'd photographed a perfect ad Wood Warbler but it's clear that the bird that flew off was the WBW, while the one in the tree was the Wood. It was another pleasing bird to add to a phylloscopus-lacking trip
Once we'd re-energised ourselves to some degree we continued walking on towards the main site for the day, which was the Acropolis and Parthenon. The walk was more tiring than it should have been but was pleasant nonetheless. We progressed on and up to the Acropolis, where a thoroughly enjoyable few hours began. First a pair of Lesser Kestrel began mating on a distant rock, then one of the teachers got into an amusing argument with some German tourists, and then we had some awesome views of 10-20 Alpine Swift - now officially my favourite bird :) Also seen was a Common Tortoise going at an ideal pace and several Scarce Swallowtail butterflies.

I won't go on about it too much, so skipping forward a few hours we had lunch and went into the national museum of Art, where I had to hand my camera in and there were no ancient pictures of birds or other wildlife in there anyway! 
We toured the museum for a long hour, as everyone was shattered by this point, and then had to head back to the coach. We said goodbye to our fantastic tour guide who was quite a legend, and boarded the coach which was airport-bound. The airport was quiet, full of tired students, and I was thankful for some sleep on the plane and coach until we returned to school.

That brought to a close a memorable, fantastic trip to Greece, which was enjoyed by all. It was great to be able to do a write-up for my school which went on their website called 'Greek Wildlife,' and now nearly the whole school are aware of the 15 year old weirdo - success!


Ancient Agora (area)

ad Wood Warbler - my 3rd favourite song of all time

Athens from the Acropolis

Athens from the Acropolis

Alpine Swifts


Alpine Swift over Athens - my personal favourite from the trip

Common Tortoise 

School write-up

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