The trip was a long time in planning, participants being me (Phil Hampson) and 2 friends Chris and Tom. having previously visited Lesbos 2 years ago as part of an organised birdwatching holiday we decided to repeat it but book everything ourselves. We could not get flights from Manchester for the dates we wanted so it was a drive to Heathrow, no problem in itself and negligible cost really between 3. Flights were booked well in advance with Aegean at a comparable cost to charter flights, our accommodation was booked online staying at the Pasiphae Hotel in Skalla Kallonis (same as last time).
At this stage I have to mention 2 resources which proved invaluable in our planning, firstly Steve Dudley has 2 extremely useful 'tools' - his website http://www.lesvosbirding.com and his book - A Birdwatching Guide to Lesvos (Arlequin Press ISBN 978-1905268-061) http://athene-birdinglesvos.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/its-here.html. The information contained within the website and book are the result of many visits to the island by Steve and is invaluable to anyone visiting and planning a birding holiday in Lesvos. The website is updated regularly with all manner of information and latest sightings (in the season).
There is also a very active Facebook group, set up by Steve, where a wealth of information can be gleaned and some absolutely stunning images are posted by birders from around Europe who have visited the island.
We booked our car hire through the website as well, this was very smooth and problem free. Only comment I'd make on car hire is to go for a larger engine size than you first think, there are many hills on Lesvos!
Whilst I had visited Lesvos twice before we decided to have a day out with Steve Dudley on one of his trips. This proved to be well worth the cost and was most enjoyable, he took us to places on the island that were new (not on the organised birding holiday itineraries), a most enjoyable lunch and really good company. All in all a superb day and one I would recommend to anyone.
A month or so before we were due to go Aegean emailed us to notify schedule changes, somewhat annoying we thought until we realised it was all in our favour. We would get there earlier and depart later, so more time on the island. Our return journey had a tight connection in Athens and we were somewhat concerned about our luggage making the flight - no problem and anyway we were going home so it didn't matter if the luggage was late.
Day 1 - Tuesday 30 April
An uneventful and smooth drive to Heathrow, checked in online to seats assured. We didn't manage as many red kites on the M40 as previous drives with 15 seen. Flight departed on time and arrived in Athens a little earlier than scheduled. We transferred through the terminal to gate for our early flight to Lesvos.