Archive for holidays
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.
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.