Greece Dadia forest and Evros 19th – 27th April 2015 (North-eastern area)
North eastern Greece
“Surprisingly beautiful” is perhaps the first thought that occurs to you when travelling in the north-eastern part of Greece. Greece has a reputation for deforesting landscapes and allowing hordes of sunloving tourists to swarm over the remnants of its ancient culture. But a splendidly unspoilt natural area exists in the area between Bulgaria and the Mediterranean of Thessaloniki and the Turkish border in the east. In the famous wetlands of Lake Kerkini and the forests of Dadia you can watch raptors to your heart’s content.
This tour will reveal villages with breeding lesser kestrels and Spanish sparrows as well as beautiful forests, wetland lagunas, river plains and, the highlight of this tour: the Evros delta.
Round-Tour in birdwatching paradise
The richness of bird life in the north-east of Greece is due to the very special geographical and climatological conditions which exist there. The Mediterranean species are fully present, but a number of northern species are here as well. Moreover, this area is situated on a migration route from Siberia to Africa. This round tour is optimally planned: at all the best moments you will visit the most interesting bird paradises. What is very special to this tour is the moment when some of the migrating birds can be seen alongside the characteristic summer birds such as bee-eater, roller, turtle dove, and woodchat shrike which are already back home from their winter stay in Africa.
The “vulture restaurant” of Dadia
The Dadia Forest is a protected area primarily to protect the raptors’ nests. The natural oak forests of Dadia are unique along the Mediterranean, since most of these oak trees were cut down for building ships during the Roman Empire. In Dadia Forest we will visit the vulture restaurant known as “ïgierenrestauranti”. It is here that farmers drop their dead sheep, cattle and goats and it is in this feeding area that you cannot fail to see vultures. Every vulture has its own preference: the black vulture starts by using its big bill to open the dead body and eats the hard pieces of meat; the griffon vulture comes next and, with its long neck, reaches the inner soft parts of the dead body, which it then eats; the Egyptian vulture eats any remains not eaten by the griffon vulture; finally, the bearded vulture (which is very rare in Dadia) breaks and eats the bones.
The vicinity of water is always guaranteed to insure the presence of a rich and varied population of birds of marshes and wetlands.
This, combined with a thinly populated area, makes the wetlands of Kerkini Lake very unspoilt and rich in unusual birds. The presence of willow-forests and the abundance of easy-to-catch fish attract many herons, squacco heron, spoonbill, black ibis, purple heron, pygmy cormorant, Dalmation pelican and rose pelican. The many floating waterplants (waterlily, Yellow Water-lily) form areas where the whiskered tern and black tern make their nests. Many storks prevail in the village of Kerkini. These storks find their food in the Kerkini lake.
During this tour we will also visit the Evrosd elta on the border of the European part of Turkey. This delta is very rich in bird life, with birds such as the spur-winged plover. We will also have a chance of seeing night heron, little bittern, black stork, stone curlow, black ibis, flamingo, marsh sandpiper, white-tailed eagle, black kite and lanner falcon.
There is also water in the mountain areas: beautiful valleys, surrounded with large eastern plane-trees. Here, too, many birds are to be seen: blue-headed wagtail, golden oriole, ortolan bunting, kingfisher, wryneck, penduline tit, and black storks.
Golden eagles and tortoises
This area is also very rich in tortoises and other reptiles, and amphibians. Lizards, snakes and tortoises are important foods for raptors. With some luck you could see the golden eagle pursuing its prey. From a great height, the tortoises are thrown onto the rocks in order to break their shell. In the hills with scrub and black pines you could also find rock partridge, black-eared wheatear, rock bunting, ortolan bunting and the blue rock thrush.
Along the Bulgarian border
You will stay a few days in each hotel, before transferring to a hotel in the next area. The roads are in good condition and there are several stops for birdwatching. The area along the Bulgarian border is mountainous and thinly populated. The Turkish villages we will pass through have a real eastern atmosphere. Walking in this beautiful area you will watch corn bunting, hoopoe, red-backed shrike, woodchat shrike, cirl bunting, sombre tit, olivacious warbler and nightingale. Many eagles live in the mountains: lesser spotted eagle, golden eagle, booted eagle, short-toed eagle.
|Tour price:||£ 1240,- excluded international flights.|
|Guarantee:||Blue Elephant is member of GGTO;|
|Tour date:||April 18 – 26 2015|
|Single supplement:||£ 280,-.|
|Arrival and departure:||Thessaloniki.|
|Itineray:||Will be sent 4 weeks before departure|
|Local transport:||Van or minibus.|
|Walking effort:||long excursions but no long walks good walking shoes advised|
|Number of particpants:||at least 6, max17 persons|
|Accommodation:||hotels on a half board basis.|
|Guides:||Knowledgeable tour guide.|
|Weather:||Mostly sunny Spring weather; a shower is possible.|
|day 1:||arrival and transfer to Kerkini|
|day 2:||Lake Kerkini;|
|day 3:||transfer to Nestos-delta, on our way Paleokastro and Fraktos;|
|day 4:||Nestos-delta and gorge ;|
|day 5:||Mangana, Porto Lagos, Mitrikoumeer; end of the day transfer to Dadia;|
|day 6:||Dadia and Kapsalo;|
|day 7:||Evros Delta;|
|day 8:||Dadia Forest, Avas valley and Lasmos gorge, transfer to Thessaloniki;|
|day 9:||Back home|
On the map you can see the locations of this trip :