May Days

Apologies to regular readers who perhaps realised I had gone AWOL without leaving a forwarding address. I promise to get back to you all very soon. Yes, it was holiday time in Greece.

This was our eleventh time in Skiathos and our first visit to the island in spring. Sue and I missed out in both May 2020 and May 2021 due to Covid but at last we made it, despite the best efforts of TUI and Manchester Airport.  

Skiathos runway

Spring was only slightly different from late September trips when the landscape is parched following a typical Greek summer and when many summer birds have gone south. In early May the weather was initially cooler but by the second week scorching sun and a familiar twenty five degrees. Once again I was the only birder on the island, birding as much as possible, if you get the drift. When is a birder not birding is the question?

Skiathos
 
Our usual hotel The Ostria at Agia Paraskevi opens in late May so this year we stayed within a stone’s throw at Spiti Oneiro, a Greek title that translates as ‘Dream House’. It’s an apt name for so many homes in faraway, relaxing Skiathos. 

Dream House - Skiathos

We know Dream House well as one of our welcoming watering holes and places to eat during September stays. It’s a little off the beaten track so very quiet, a friendly, laid-back sort of place with just nine apartments, bed & breakfast if required or room only. Proprietors are Dad Kostas and daughter Efie, two wonderful, helpful and kind people who go out of their way to make guests feel at home. 

Kostas Stergiopoulos


We reserved a room via Efie and book flights directly. This makes for a more personal experience as well as ensuring our money goes into the local economy rather than a percentage into commission to third parties.

Courtesy of Magda of Mustang Motors https://www.skiathosrent.comwe picked up the Jimny jeep at the airport and filled it with expensive petrol, fuelthat lastsa while on quite tiny Skiathos Island. At Euros 25 a day the jeep works out as both convenient and cost effective when a couple of trips to other parts of the island by local bus costs about Euros 8 each time, e.g into Skiathos Town or the opposite ends of the island Koukounaries, or Troulos. 

The furthermost north part of the island isin any case accessible mostly by car, sometimes a 4x4, more so after a wet winter. It was in January and into March this year that Skiathos had several bouts of snow followed by a legacy of soggy roads and tracks.


Skiathos Life - Facebook January 2022

Two weeks of uninterrupted sun and zero rain made for lots of photos of Skiathos if not too many bird photos as early May proved a little late for heavy migration and in any case Skiathos has a quite small bird list. 

The "best" and most unexpected bird proved to be a Little Bittern which I saw on and off for two weeks in a reedy ditch where stream frogs Rana gracea were probably the reason for the bittern's presence. Most of the time I glimpsed the thing climbing through the thick reeds and only once did I get a decent photo. My sighting may be the first recorded sighting of this small bittern species  on Skiathos where birders are rare even non-existent but I imagine the Little Bittern is pretty common in Greece as a whole.

Rana gracea

Little Bittern

The first week included Black-headed Buntings, Red-throated Pipits, Richard's Pipits, Yellow Wagtails, Red-backed Shrikes, Woodchat Shrikes, Whinchats, Red-rumped Swallows, Barn Swallows, Marsh Warblers & Reed Warblers, Hobbies, Buzzard, Olivaceous Warblers, Scops Owl and a good number of daytime singing Nightingales. Sea birds consisted of the ever-present Yellow-legged Gulls, European Shag and numbers of Cory's/Scopoli's Shearwaters searching the mill pond Aegean Sea.


Barn Swallow

Black-headed Bunting

Red-rumped Swallow

Woodchat Shrike

Yellow Wagtail

Red-throated Pipit

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

By the second week the birds dried up with the increased temperatures and we were left to enjoy the sunshine, deserted beaches and the company of Hooded Crows and Yellow-legged Gulls.   


Hooded Crow

Yellow-legged Gull

There are lots of photos of Sunny Skiathos below. Enjoy and don't forget to "click the pic" for a better view.

Skiathos Town

Skiathos Town

The Bourtzi 

Skiathos Town

The Bourtzi

Rural Skiathos

Above Skiathos

Essential Shopping in Skiathos

Skiathos Town

Skiathos Boatyard

Skiathos Boatyard

In the Boatyard

View from Mylos Taverna

Ligaries

Ligaries

Ligaries

Back soon with local news and views.