This year in Lesvos we visited Agiasos twice, specifically to take the flower walk round the Sweet Chestnut woods above the town, having not found the beginning of the walk on our previous visit. The woods were visited once at the beginning of the holiday and then towards the end of the trip to catch as many of the plants in flower as possible.|
There is a description of how to find the start of the flower walk in the book "Birding on Lesvos" by Richard Brooks. It is not particularly easy to find even with these instructions.
On reaching Agiasos park at the lower end of the town in or close to the obvious parking spaces provided. Once parked, walk up the main street into the town. Up the first side street on your right you will see a bell tower which is over the entrance to a small chapel in a sunken courtyard. Walk around the back of this chapel and bell tower bearing left and up hill. Continue along this road until you reach a set of old garages on your left. At this point you will see another road directly in front of you with some newer garages on the opposite side of this road. Then you will see a narrow Kalderim path (cobbled stone path) off up the hillside to your right. Take this path until you come to a Y junction. At this junction is a yellow sign with a man with a walking stick on it. At this point take the right hand uphill fork and you are now on the beginning of a brilliant flower walk.
Once on the walk the instructions in the afore mentioned book are fine to use as a navigational aid. I would suggest however, that you explore off the track into the woods and fields to find some of the more interesting plants of the area. For example I would not have found wild tulip unless I had been told to continue straight ahead at the first stream crossing for a few hundred yards before returning to cross the stream.
I'm afraid my bird list for Agiasos may be a little short as I spent more time focussing on the ground than in the air or the trees due to the abundance of flowers. However, the bird list included rarities such as Wren, Robin and Wood Pigeon along with others such as Cuckoo, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Crag Martin, Nightingale, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Raven and Cirl Bunting.
On our first visit to Agiasos we found masses of anemones on the lower slopes of the woods, mostly Crown Anemone with a few Peacock Anemones. These were found all over the walk but mainly in flower meadows in association with many other plant species such as Alkanet, Daisies, Buttercups, Spurges and Perfoliate Alexanders to name but a few.
Orchids found on the first trip were the cream coloured Provencal Orchid, Green-winged Orchid and Toothed Orchid. I found a single Wild Tulip and a couple of Peonies were in flower. Frtilaries were fairly abundant on both occasions but some were going over on the second visit.|
The second time we walked round the woods Sword-leaved Heleborines were noted after the second stream crossing but the most impressive site was literally hundreds of Peonies in flower along with the Aarums which were the main reason we had a second walk in the woods as they weren't out the first time round.
Apparently most plants have usually finished flowering by the beginning of May and April is the best time to walk through the woods. We were obviously lucky as everything was late this year due to the weather patterns. The opposite of the birds, as many migrants had passed through before our arrival on the island. It had been cool with rain the few weeks before our arrival. Then the day we arrived temperatures soared up to the mid 30's and not a cloud was seen for the whole two weeks.
I would therefore suggest you obtain information as to the flowering status of plants on the island to allow yourself the best chance of catching as much as possible in flower along the walk.|
As well as the flowers and birds we saw a small snake backing into a wall crevice, a young whipsnake I think and plenty of lizards including the well proportioned Green Lizard.
Whether you are a birder, a botanist, a walker or a general naturalist you will not fail to find this walk probably the best on the island. The most amazing thing is that you will probably not even see another person once you have left the town adding tranquility to the amazing list of plants and wildlife that inhabit the area.|
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