....about Agios Georgios north, Corfu Nature Corner

AGIOS GEORGIOS INTRODUCTION BIRDS FLOWERS INSECTS OTHER NIGHT Notebook

BIRDS

Around Agios Georgios,
Arillas and Agios Stefanos

Photograph of Nightingale

Visitors are often disappointed at the shyness and apparently small numbers of birds in Corfu. Maybe it is a reflection on what is happening in other countries due to changes in agricultural practices but surely the Mediterranean 'hobby' of winter shooting of all sizes and shapes of birds does not help.
However more enthusiastic 'birders' manage to produce huge lists of species seen in unbelievably short times at various places around the island so obviously the birds are there. How these experts can identify so many unusual species in a short time really amazes me! I have difficulty just catching glimpes of a few, and certainly not identifying them.

Corfu is situated on a migration route so the early Spring months are best for observing visiting species and some of those mentioned below may have been migrating birds on stopping off in Agios Georgios.

My observations are limited to a few weeks holiday in either May, June or September so my own experiences are limited. If more visitors will help me this page will hopefully be expanded as I am sure there are many other bird species to be seen.

I am sure that real ornithologists with more time and knowledge could identify many interesting species.

(Background sound is a Nightingale

Switch for repeat at bottom of page)

 

Unfortunately there are no lagoons, extensive marshes or other bird watchers' paradises anywhere near Agios Georgios. Instead there are vast olive groves, small agricultural fields and a few scrubby maquis thickets.

In early season the air around the accommodation is full of wheeling Swallows and House Martins feeding their young high under the eaves with flies they have snatched out of the air or plucked from the surface of the hotel pool, chattering House and Spanish Sparrows, and Spotted Flycatchers who cheekily nest inches from where we sit on the balconies. A pair of noisy Stonechats are busy feeding their newly flown youngsters while a beautifully coloured Grey Wagtail dips its tail around the garden.

Grey Wagtail

Spotted Flycatcher

Stonechat

   

Another familiar sight everywhere are pretty Goldfinches often in family groups.

Goldfinch

In the valley we often see Buzzards overhead soaring on their broad wings.

In some years a pair of unidentified larger hawks (or small eagles) can be seen daily hunting over the valley, presumably from their nest maybe in the high cliffs near the village of Pagi or the tall trees on the valley sides. Maybe they were Black Kites which other ornithologists have recorded not far away.

Buzzard soaring

 

The narrow road along the valley bottom towards the village of Dafni sometimes rings to the rich song of the Nightingale and other song birds among the lush shrubs and trees. Robins are common and there are some Blackbirds.


Nightingale

If you didn't hear the song of the Nightingale in the background then switch on your speaker and click your browser's Refresh icon.

Olive groves surround Agios Georgios and can be both rewarding and frustrating for bird lovers. Their open foliage make it difficult to follow the movements of small birds such as warblers, and even more difficult to pick out singing birds. The trees are mostly very tall and old. Brightly coloured Jays and small Collared Doves and Turtle Doves are often seen. Most years spectacular Woodchat Shrikes seemed to be always present in the olive groves and gardens.


Woodchat Shrike


Jay

Collared Dove

Other birds seen recently around Agios Georgios include Black-headed Wagtail and the beautiful Hoopoe and Golden Oriole

A muddy puddle near the centre of Agios Georgios provided this Red-rumped Swallow with mud for its nest. It was one of several spotted gathering mud among a small flock of nervous House Martins.


Red-rumped Swallow

Short Video

(opens pop-up window)

Corfu is also visited by migrating birds on passage to and from their breeding areas in Spring and Autumn so such visiting species can sometimes be seen.

 

Hoopoe

 

Golden Oriole

Other interesting birds identified by visitors are: Red-backed Shrike, Serin, Cettis Warbler, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Wagtail and Pied Wagtail, Alpine Swift, Black Cap, Yellow-legged Gull and Bee Eater.

European Bee Eater

 

A walk along the lovely wooded valley to the east and below the village of Pagi might give a sighting of a spectacular Golden Oriole, although only mature male birds have that wonderful contrasting yellow and black plumage, the females and young birds being much greener and duller. Rather secretive shy birds they prefer to stay in the mazy foliage of the high olive trees so the attentive observer's attention may first be attracted by their unmistakable calls (see below). Guests at Theo's Hotel on the Pagi road or walkers on Walk1 should also listen and look out for these distinctive birds in the trees around the hotel especially in Spring when many are passing through..

Click on the link below to hear the unmistakable call of this bird.

Note: If the background Nightingale song is still playing then click on the 'pause' button on the lower box.

Golden Oriole call

 

A guest at Theo's Hotel, Samantha, took a lovely photograph of a Black-crowned Night Heron (commonly called just Night Heron) near the stream in Walk 1. (Many thanks to Samantha for permission to reproduce it here). Compare Samantha's bird with an adult one below.

This Night Heron is a 3 year old adult bird but at that age it is still immature and not in adult plumage. These immature adults migrate to the breeding grounds with the other adults so it was probably on passage to northern Greece (identification and information kindly provided by Steve Dudley from http://www.lesvosbirding.com).



Night Heron (immature)

Night Heron (adult)

Click on photographs for larger images

 

Switches for sound files:

Golden Oriole call

 

The Switch for nightingale song

 

I am luckily able to reproduce here some great opportunist photos of birds taken around Agios Georgios by Brian Smith a regular visitor who kindly had made arrangements for a CD to be given to me.


Bird Gallery with automatic Slideshow
(photos by Brian Smith)
BEE EATER

Bee Eater

BEE EATER

Black-headed Bunting O

BEE EATER

Blue-headed Wagtail

Blue Rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush

       
Collared Flycatcher

Collared Flycatcher

Night Heron

Night Heron

Hoopoe

Hoopoe

Little Owl

Little Owl

Red-rumped Swallow

Red-rumped Swallow

Sardinian Warbler

Sardinian Warbler

Serin

Serin

Hoopoe

Squacco Heron

Buzzard

Buzzard

Turtledove pair

Turtle Dove pair

Woodchat

Woodchat

Wryneck

Wryneck

  Red-footed Falcon

Red-footed Falcon

Hoopoe

Sub-alpine Warbler

 
       

The web-site owner is not an ornithologist and for all these topics will be pleased to receive comments and contributions from specialists who are acquainted with the area. Please email me if you have definitely identified any interesting bird species in the Agios Georgios, Arillas or Agios Stefanos area.

I have made a list with pictures of some birds which might be seen near Agios Georgios, including some of those already mentioned, and added their Greek and English names. This list is contained on a 4-page PDF file which can be downloaded and printed off for taking on holiday with you. Bird List


Emails

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Acknowledgement: Many of the illustrations on this page are from the Royal Society of Birds birdguide
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