Greece is not just a popular destination for tourists, it is just as popular with migrating birds. For those birds which want to fly over the Eastern Mediterranean, it makes an ideal route, enabling the migrants from Central and Eastern Europe to fly across the mainland, or down through the islands, and then across to Crete from where it is a short flight to North Africa.
There are several places in the country which are vital breeding grounds for birds, some of them seriously endangered. For example, the Prespa Lakes near the Albanian border are one of the few remaining areas in Europe where the Dalmatian pelican breeds, a bird which is regarded as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Council for Bird Preservation. There are less than 1000 pairs worldwide, and almost 20% of these nest in the Prespa Lakes.
So too does the White Pelican – the only place in Greece where it can be found. Other important species there include the pygmy cormorant (also ‘vulnerable’), the rare goosander, and magnificent raptors such as the golden eagle, short-toed eagle and the booted eagle.
Even more important for Greece’s bird population is the Evros River Delta, east of Alexandroupolis and close to the Turkish border. This is a politically sensitive area but is a haven for wintering ducks and geese, with as many as 100,000 birds there at one time. Over 75% of Greece’s 408 species of birds have been seen in the Evros Delta. These include more pygmy cormorants, ordinary cormorants, white pelicans, herons, egrets, storks and any number of waders. Sea eagles can also be seen here.
If you are especially interested in birds of prey you should head north from the Evros Delta and into the Dadia Forest, where no less than 36 of Europe’s 39 species of raptors have been spotted. Twenty-six of those species are known to live and nest in the pine forests on the slopes of the Evros Mountains. These include Greece’s rarest bird of prey, the sea eagle, one of the rarest in Europe, the black vulture, and others such as the griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, golden eagle and the Levant sparrowhawk.
On the western coast of mainland Greece, the wetlands around Mesolongi are among the most important in Greece. These are created by rivers such as the Acheloos and Evinos, which flow down from the mountains and between them have created a vast series of lagoons, mud flats, marshes and reed beds.
Almost 300 species of birds have been observed here, and in winter there are vast numbers of coots (an estimated 30,000) and ducks (over 20,000). One important species here is the slender-billed curlew, which is endangered in Russia, where it nests, and Mesolongi is a vital stopping-off point on its migratory journey to its winter home in North Africa.
A wide range of raptors has also been seen here, including the rare sea eagle and black vulture, while the sheer variety of the terrain makes it one of the most fascinating places in Greece for those interested in ornithology.
Read this piece about where you can go birdwatching just a short distance from the centre of Thessaloniki:
The United States is one of the markets that Greece is eyeing to form a travel arrangement that will open up tourism between the two countries this year.
Restaurants and other food and beverage (F&B) establishments in Greece will most likely be allowed to re-open and serve customers initially outdoors after the Easter holiday, Greek Deputy Development…
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is planning to restart operations this summer with sailings to the Caribbean and the Greek islands.
Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Monday clarified that any safety and health rules that apply to Greek citizens – such as mandatory mask wearing and social distancing – will also apply to tourists…
Celestyal Cruises is speeding up procedures for the restart of sailings on May 29, aiming to provide its guests with carefree holidays to the Greek islands and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said Greece has set up five lines of defence against the coronavirus (Covid-19) in order to open for tourism safely this year.
Greek Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Akis Skertsos on Monday told SKAI radio that it is “too soon” to discuss if lockdown restrictions would be eased in Greece in time for the Easter holiday. T…
The Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) has announced plans to undertake the construction of a new playground and a bicycle lane at the port of Piraeus.
The Ministry of Culture has announced the summer operating hours of archaeological sites and museums across Greece. According to a ministry announcement, the opening hours of archaeological sites, mon…
The Guardian recently announced its selection of 10 crowd-free Greek islands and coastlines that can offer travelers “a taste of true Greek culture”. According to the British newspaper, with the end o…