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Lesbos in Autumn

Tour Code: GRC09

An 8-day birdwatching holiday to the beautiful island of Lesbos to enjoy some late summer sunshine, fine birds and charming Greek tavernas.

8 days from £1695(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1395 SRS: £150

No tour summary is currently available. Please read the detailed description or download the tour itinerary.


All included in the price.


A pleasant family-run tourist hotel at Skala Kallonis, all rooms with private facilities.

Black Stork

Black Stork

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Mytilini; transfer Skala Kallonis

Day 2/7 Daily birdwatching excursions from Skala Kallonis

Day 8 Fly London

The green and fertile island of Lesbos lies in the far east of the Aegean Sea, just a few kilometres from the coast of Turkey. Third largest of the Greek islands, it has a rugged mountainous interior reached by narrow twisting roads that pass through villages where the traditional way of life is virtually unchanged. A magnificent coastline has thus far escaped the ravages of mass tourism, although the island has long been popular with artists and discerning Greek holidaymakers. A major source of revenue is the production of high quality olive oil and one of the most conspicuous aspects of the island vegetation is the abundance of Olive Trees, which seem to adorn every hillside and valley. Fishing is still an important industry, with the autumn catch of Kalloni Bay Sardines a speciality. Another local industry is the distilling of Ouzo, and the product can be sampled at the numerous tavernas which are such a feature of Greek island life.

With so many natural attributes, Lesbos is a perfect Naturetrek destination, and our spring visits have been popular for many years. Now, however, we offer the chance to enjoy this beautiful island and its birds in autumn. We’ll explore its headlands, wetlands and other birding hotspots to experience the autumn migration, as summer visitors to Europe and Central Asia move southwards. As well as searching for these passage migrants we will also seek out the resident species, plus any late-staying summer visitors or early winter visitors. A particular focus of this trip, however, will be watching for migrant birds of prey as they head south after leaving Turkey.

We’ll be based for seven nights at a small family-run hotel in the fishing village of Skala Kallonis at the head of Kalloni Bay, a large shallow inlet from the sea. The village is renowned for its Sardine fishery and there are a number of excellent restaurants by the harbour to sample this and many other Greek specialties. The sheltered waters and uncrowded beaches provide diversions for anyone wishing to relax in the Aegean sun but Skala Kallonis is also close to some of the best birdwatching sites on the island, making it a perfect base for our activities. Nearby river-mouths and saltpans will warrant frequent inspection for incoming migrants, in particular herons, wildfowl and waders.

Further afield we will enjoy leisurely day trips to a range of prime birding areas on the island including the Lardia Valley near Skalachori and the Polichnitos Saltpans. We will also explore the fields and olive groves along the north and west coasts — the Korakas headland, Faneromeni and Meladia Valley being amongst the most likely sites for autumn migrants, especially birds of prey. There will be time to enjoy unhurried lunches at favourite tavernas, and picnics in sleepy corners of the island where working donkeys and herds of goats browse in pastoral scenes.

The diminutive Krüper’s Nuthatch is one of the less common resident birds that we will be hoping to find, but many other avian delights should await our discovery, perhaps including Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Eleonora’s Falcon, Rock Nuthatch and Sombre Tit to name but a few. Whether amongst rocky hills and valleys that are home to Chukar Partridges, Blue Rock Thrushes and Rock Sparrows, or watching Wood Sandpipers probing alongside Little Egrets on a muddy pool or saltpan, there should always be something of interest to see and enjoy. Autumn migration will be in full swing and unusual migrants and unexpected vagrants can turn up almost anywhere, enhancing that sense of anticipation at every birdwatching stop; Dalmatian Pelican, Pectoral Sandpiper, Spur-winged Plover, Citrine Wagtail and Steppe Grey Shrike are some of the rarer species recorded in recent years.

Birdwatching in Lesbos during the autumn migration season will be fascinating, but there will be many other wonderful memories to take away as a reminder of our stay on the island. Warm sunny days ending with a chorus of cicadas and crickets, fireflies flashing in the darkness, and the chance to enjoy an unspoilt Mediterranean landscape — something of a rarity these days! Add to this heady mixture the natural warmth and hospitality of our island friends and hosts and you have all the components of a delightful end of summer holiday.

Garganey (Colin Wibberley)Crested Lark (Karen Meyer)Squacco Herons (Colin Wibberley)Wood Sandpipers (Colin Wibberley)Ruppell's Warbler (Peter Spillett)Crested Lark (Colin Wibberley)Whinchat (Peter Spillett)Black Stork and Little Egrets (Colin Wibberley)RuffRuppel's Warbler female (Mick Doyle)Turtle DoveSquacco HeronWood SandpiperRed-backed Shrike (Peter Spillett)Kruper's Nuthatch (Mick Doyle)Corn BuntingRuppell's WarblerLittle-ringed PloverSkala Kallonis Hotel, one of the possible hotels used on this tripSkala Kallonis harbourSkala Kallonis harbourShort-tailed Blue Butterfly (Karen Meyer)Wall Brown (Colin Wibberley)Swallow-tailed Butterfly (Karen Meyer)Subalpine Warbler
Chris knew the island well and we visited some beautiful areas. Chris and Mike were brilliant spotters and both engaged the whole group with ease. We were extremely well looked after - it was yet another superb Naturetrek tour.
Loved Chris and Reg. Two completely different characters, but nothing was ever too much trouble.
The organisational skills of Chris Murphy, our tour leader, were superb. His enthusiasm was impressive. Reg Thorpe was equally knowledgeable and very helpful.
Chris and Reg were very patient and helped at every stage. Knowledge and previous experience is a great asset. They went to great lengths to explain all about the birds, hoping to make us experts.
Good flights and good company. Good food and variety of food. Leaders were helpful and knowledgeable. Weather and scenery good. Flights were surprisingly good with attentive cabin staff, above average food and sizeable leg room.
Combination of excellent leaders (extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic), good group, pleasant hotel with very welcoming staff, good birding (but also focus on other aspects in which many are interested - butterflies, other insects, vegetation/plants etc.) and good weather.
Chris and Reg are both very skilled birders, and very affable and caring. Also, both are good drivers; important in this mountainous terrain! A very happy trip, with good leaders and fun companions. The birding was very interesting too! The weather was good and the birds were forthcoming under the knowing eyes of our experienced leaders. A good variety of habitats were explored. Lesbos is a beautiful island and we had a chance to see all of it. The local people are very friendly and a surprising number of them speak English. They seemed genuinely pleased to see us.
This was my first Naturetrek holiday. My wife and I fancied a pre-winter break with walking, scenery and species interest in a new location. We got it! Reg Thorpe was all go from the crack of dawn until just before sunset - once or twice the sun was setting as we returned to base. His organisation, competence and knowledge of subject were first class. Two things are essential in such a trip; enthusiasm (about the subject - birds) and knowledge of the subject. Reg never missed a moment of the day. His very keen eye coupled with his experience of Lesbos gave us 100% of what we had come to see. I saw a number of species for the first time.
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Sat 14th September 2019 - Sat 21st September 2019



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1395 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Greece

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Tour Reviews

Chris knew the island well and we visited some beautiful areas. Chris and Mike were brilliant spotters and both engaged the whole group with ease. We were extremely well looked after - it was yet another superb Naturetrek tour.
S.B., Hampshire