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Archive for Frank Wood

Trouble finding flights to Lesvos for 2012

You might be interested in reading this email that i was sent
Melinda

Hi Melinda,
I don’t know whether you are aware of the dire situation facing Lesvos for next year.
While you and your colleagues are working away to attract more people to Molivos, we are finding it almost impossible to get there.
Our travel agent Lisa Murray, who works for a wonderful company called Travel Counsellors, has been checking out for us today and has found that not only have Thomson and First Choice pulled out of Lesvos for 2012 but have NO plans to return in the near future.
That leaves just Thomas Cook/Manos with just one Saturday flight a week out of Manchester and no-one at this stage planning to fill the void.
Liisa has checked with other companies such as Olympic to see whether they have plans to fill the hole left by Thomson, but none are plannng to do that.
We are now desperately trying to find somewhere else as superb as the Eriphilli where we can book a package two or three weeks next May, before the few available planes are filled by bird watchers heading for Skala Kalloni.
I’m sure the Thomson move will have a devastating effect on the restaurants and other businesses in Molivos.
Problems are even cropping up with Thomas Cook, the one operator still taking bookings from Britain. For instance, the Molivos Queen (below the castle) was being offered at the beginning of this week and a friend of ours booked the first two weeks next May.
When I tried today, the accommoadtion had been pulled from website for what Thomas Cook say are “contractual problems”.
 Slowly but surely, the places we like are disappearing and, more frighteningly, the planes to get us there.
Best wishes,
FRANK and SHEILA

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GOODBYE TO THE MYTH OF MITHIMNA

THERE’S a myth among British birdwatchers that the ONLY place worth staying on Lesvos is Skala Kalloni.

It’s a misconception probably shared by birders from other European countries who flock to the island for each spring and autumn migration.

Only those in the know seem to choose  Molivos –  or Mithimna to give it its historic name – as their base.

Well, in my humble opinion as an avid birdwatcher, it’s about time someone banished this myth about Mithimna.

When it comes to finding a perfect place to combine birdwatching with walking in spectacular, hilly scenery, having a massive choice of eating places and history around every corner, then Molivos is the place to be

Is there any nicer place in the whole world to round off a day’s birding than with a meal on Molivos harbour side, watchingdolphins and diving terns in the fading light?

Skala Kalloni with its salt pans is only a 40 minutes drive away.

All around Molivos are superb places to seek out the birds – some of them rather rare – from dense olive groves to the magnificent coastal strip between Eftalou and Skala Sikamnia. 

Even among the narrow streets and alleyways of the old town, there are birds to be seen and heard. You just have to look and listen.

Swallows nest under almost every  canopy and overhang of buildings.  Most years, for instance, they successfully rear young on top of an ornamental coach lantern under the canopy of  The Captain’s Table restaurant on the harbour.

As darkness falls, the monotonous  call of the Scops owl can be heard around the town squares and among the eucalyptus trees alongside the school.

The sound is reminiscent of the slow “peeps” of the Greenwich time signal.

Molivos is a place where it is usual to spot the unusual.


Floodlights which illuminate the castle are a magnet to moths and other flying insects. So birds such as nightjars and little owls are quick to take advantage of the ready meals.

Last year, barn owls, little owls and kestrels all nested within a few yards of each other in stone crevices  near the castle’s main entrance.

Keep an eye on the sea, too. Some years, thousands of

Mediterranean shearwaters can be seen in the huge bay between the harbour and the Kavaki headland. At times there are so many it looks like a giant oil slick.

The headland itself, near the “disco on stilts”, is known as one of the best places in Europe to see the very rare Ruppell’s Warbler.

Inland, the reservoir off the Vafios road is a good place to see Eleanora’s falcons hunting for dragon flies. Many other birds can also be “ticked” here.

In our 16 years of holidays in Molivos – sometimes twice a year – my wife Sheila and I always  see at least 120 species.

Really keen birdwatchers can expect many more than that.

FRANK WOOD, press officer for the Bolton area of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in North West England.