b i r d s
& f l o w e r s
Lesvos is a paradise for birds in the early Spring. Its location, on an important migration route near the Turkish coast, and its unusual variety of different habitats make it an important and very rewarding place for birders, with over 325 different bird species already recorded including Cinereous Bunting and Kruper's Nuthatch.
A twenty-minute drive from Petra will bring you to the wonderful wetlands on the Gulf of Kalloni where spectacular proportions of wintering wildfowl, breeding and migrating birds can be seen from late March until the end of May. Ornithologist and author, Richard Brooks, who visits the island regularly, has written: "Kalloni salt pans are really a place to be in spring, when the spectacles on offer can be truly stunning.."
Examples of birds in this area: Spoonbill and Spur-winged Plover, Common and Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Great White Egret, Greater Flamingo, Little Owl, Corn and Black-headed Bunting, Lesser Grey and other shrikes, Red-footed Falcon, Collared Pratincoles, Purple Heron, Red-throated Pipits, Bee-eaters, Stone Curlew, Marsh and Montagu's Harrier, Hobby (commoner in Autumn), Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Citrine Wagtail, Turnstone, Sanderling, Black-necked Grebe, Godwit, Short-toed Lark, Ruddy Shelduck, Black and White Stork,
There are over 23 important bird-watching sites on the island and the major habitats include wetlands, cultivated field and unsprayed grassland, scrub and dry river beds (one of the best areas is just outside Petra on the coast road), olive groves (many in the area around Petra), pine and oak woods, and bare uplands (one area is just to the north east of Petra).In Petra bay itself, two rocky islands have been
declared a protected natural zone and are a safe nesting area for rock doves, kestrels, shags, jackdaws, blue rock thrushes,yellow-legged gulls and Audouni's gull as well as chaffinches, goldfinches and wagtails.
Petra Tours can offer a complete service for visitors - groups and individuals -wishing to enjoy the island's birdlife. Travel arrangements, accommodation, coach, minibus or car hire on a daily or weekly basis can be arranged to suit your requirements during the spring or autumn months. Our drivers speak English and have experience working with birding groups.
Flowers and flora
Lesvos is the third largest island in Greece after Crete and Evia and also one of the most colourful. From the middle of March onwards, the island provides the floor for a stunning carpet of wild flowers, including 35 different species of wild orchid.
It's mild climate, variety of landscape and wealth of natural spring water
ensures that over 1400 different varieties of flower bloom regularly - a botanical paradise.
This secret garden was well known in ancient times. In the 6th century BC, the poetess, Sapho hailed the island's beauty in her poetry and, three centuries later, the philosopher Theophrastos marked the beginnings of the science of botany by recording the large number of plants on his native island.
One of the largest and most famous olive oil-producing areas in Greece, Lesvos has over 11 million olive trees - some in very old groves where the undisturbed soil continues to produce a natural history of beautiful and sometimes rare flowers, plants and herbs..
Road-sides and river beds also present a riot of colour with an abundance of hollyhock, oleander and rhododendron. In Greece, the yellow Rhododendrum Luteum Sweet is only to be found on Lesvos. It grows, amongst other places, on the edges of the Gulf of Kalloni, a twenty-minutes drive from Petra, alongside Paionia, a rare and beautiful herb with therapeutic properties. The islanders have a rich knowledge of herbal healing and, for example, Rosemary, Fennel, Bay, Thyme, Marjoram, Oregano and Camomile are all collected in the wild.
The island has roads and paths of outstanding natural beauty with many footpaths such as the one leading up to Potamia, a 15-minute drive from Petra which is rich in vegetation including pinewood, elm and chestnut forests.
Naturalists and authors, Brian and Eileen Anderson, write: "Lesvos remains one of the most natural and unspoilt islands in the whole archipelago."
Petra Tours offers a complete service for visitors wishing to enjoy the natural beauty of Lesvos including all travel arrangements, accommodation, car hire and a special itinerary of guided tours to the island's richest botanical areas by coach and on