A rewarding trip to one of the best preserved and prime birding areas in Europe with outstanding scenery, great habitats and more than 200 species of birds to see.
Kerkini Lake, scenically the most impressive wetland in Northern Greece, is the first nature site to explore on this trip. We will visit all the key birdwatching parts of the lake and in one of the mornings we can do a boat trip to the heron and cormorant nesting colony, which provides very good opportunities for bird photography as well. Some of the fabulous species we target here include the Great White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Bittern, Glossy Ibis, Black Stork, Black Kite, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Great Reed Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler and others. In the broad-leaved forests and shrubs, steppes and arid areas in the countryside surrounding the lake we can see various breeding birds, such as the Long-legged Buzzard, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Masked Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Black-headed Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Ortolan Bunting.
Leaving back for the Aegean coast we will make a long stop in the mountains on the way, searching for some special birds like the Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Water Pipit, Alpine Chough. Then we will reach the Nestos river valley with its impressive gorge, where we expect to find the Rock Partridge, Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Eurasian Crag Martin, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Western Rock Nuthatch, Rock Bunting.
Travelling further east we will make a long stop at the complex of wetlands and grasslands around Porto Lagos and Lake Ismarida, where we can see the Eurasian Shag (ssp. desmarestii), White-tailed Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Zitting Cisticola and a lot of breeding and migrating waders. The evening and the whole next day we will spend in the area of Maronia, which holds big variety of Mediterranean and Balkan species like Scopoli’s Shearwater, Yelkouan Shearwater, Audouin’s Gull, Golden Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Eleonora’s Falcon, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Masked Shrike, Rufous Bush Robin, Barred Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Cirl Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, etc.
Then we will settle for three days in the easternmost part of mainland Greece. One of the major sites to visit here is the Dadya Forest National Park. This is another scenically splendid and wildlife rich area of Greece, especially noted for the fact that 36 of Europe’s 39 species of raptors can be found here. While in the area, we will be searching for the Eurasian Black Vulture, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Sardinian Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and Masked Shrike.
At the end of our trip we will focus on the famous Evros Delta – one of the most important wetlands in Europe and a magnet for birders. Among the big variety of birds that find shelter and food there, we can expect to see the Ferruginous Duck, Spur-winged Lapwing, Marsh Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Collared Pratincole, other migrating and breeding waders, terns and shore birds. In the dry habitats we will be looking for the European Roller, European Bee-eater, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Olivaceous Warbler. Earlier in spring we could have good chances to see Red-footed Falcons and Levant Sparrowhawks passing over.
Finally we will travel back to Thessaloniki, in the vicinity of which we will visit the Axios Delta National Park, providing good opportunities for further birdwatching encounters, especially waders – Collared Pratincole, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Spur-winged Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper. Other target species here will be the Greater Flamingo, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Slender-billed Gull, Little Tern, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark and Black-headed Bunting.