Kerkini: Birds PLUS
with the Thessaloniki coast
4 - 8
Jan 20 - 27
May 18 - 25
Jan 18 - 25
May 16 - 23
our Birds PLUS tour
in collaboration with Lake Kerkini National Park
WINTER OR SPRING?
Both seasons bring different delights. Whether that's the vivid red of the Dalmatian pelican's mandible in winter or the joys of spring migration.
Below is an overview of birding in Kerkini for both tours below,
or click to see each tour's
Species list for Lake Kerkini NP: 1,300+ plant / 4,700+ invertebrate /
400+ moth / 128 butterfly / 78 orthoptera / 40 odonata / 310+ bird /
33 fish / 27 reptile / 11 amphibian / 58+ mammal
134 bird species overwinter
Highlights are the rare raptors: imperial eagle, golden eagle, greater spotted eagle, and white-tailed eagle.
Red-crested pochard, ferruginous duck, red-breasted merganser, white-headed duck, Saker falcon, flamingo and lesser-white fronted goose also overwinter or pass through. It's also the most important overwintering area for Dalmatian pelican in Europe.
In and around Kerkini there are also 8 woodpeckers, including Syrian, grey-headed, black and white-backed.
137 bird species nest, with 163 resting on migration.
10 species nest in the riparian forest alone: common and pygmy cormorant, little egret, great white egret, purple, grey, squacco & night heron, spoonbill & glossy ibis.
Black-necked grebes are found in floating nests, with whiskered and black tern nest on leaves of aquatic plants. Dalmatian pelican have bred since 2003 on artificial platforms.
Breeding raptors include peregrine falcon, Levant sparrowhawk, short-toed, lesser spotted, white-tailed and booted eagle.
Pygmy cormorants, flamingos, spoonbills, black stork, masked shrike, raptors, subalpine & olive-tree warbler, black-eared wheatear, bee-eater, hoopoe
Pygmy cormorant, lesser white-fronted goose, Syrian and grey-headed woodpecker, sombre tit, merlin, hope for wildcat and other mammals at dusk
Dalmatian and white pelicans, squacco & night heron, little bittern
Dalmatian pelican, few white pelican, Caspian tern, some red-crested pochard
Day 1: Arrival
Day 5: Iron Castle & Wine
Day 5: Iron Castle, Wine & Cave
Days 2-4: Around Lake Kerkini
Fly into Thessaloniki. Drive to Kerkini. Evening birding
Explore a flooded forest (spring) by boat, and walk through two riverine forests
Early morning & evening walks to hear, and maybe even see, golden jackal
Forested slopes, scrub, low grazed pastures and quarries.
A tour of a small monastery above the lake by its priest one day,
and a large nunnery another. Panoramic views, habitat, wall paintings...
National Park Info Centre
Lunch with water buffalo (plus shepherd)
Bathe in 11th century hot springs
Grassland & crags around a Byzantine castle. Lunch at a winery. The Alistrati cave. Overnight under Mt Paggaio
Grassland and crags around a Byzantine castle and surrounding valleys
Dinner at a winery.
Morning and early afternoon spent above 1,600m asl and the treeline by the sea
Overnight by the coast
Day 6: Sub-alpine slopes
Rock nuthatch, blue rock thrush, short-toed eagle and possibly lesser kestrel
Day 6: Serres & Alistrati Cave
River, fields & then crags by a monastery
Lunch at a winery, before the Alistrati cave & dessert in Serres
Overnight in Serres
Rock nuthatch, Syrian woodpecker,
hope for long-legged buzzard
Ortolan bunting, water pipit, alpine chough (50%), black redstart, rock partridge (50%). Higher up, hope for alpine accentor & horned lark
Long-legged buzzard, hen harrier,
calandra lark, lanner falcon,
outside chance of rock partridge
Day 7: Thessaloniki coast & lagoons
Coastal birds & Animal Rescue Centre
Late afternoon & evening in historic Thessaloniki
A cosmopolitan centre for centuries, it is one of Europe's
most overlooked cities.
Good spot for glossy ibis, more waders and flamingos. Also looking out for the souslik (ground squirrel)
Coastal wader and waterfowl deluxe.
Slender-billed gull, spotted redshank, avocet
Day 8: Breakfast, coffee and home
Some prefer a late flight home on Day Seven.
But for those that don't, relax before your flight and
join us for a morning stroll in Thessaloniki.
Maybe add-on a day or two for
trips to Vergina, Meteora or further afield.
WHAT IS BIRDS PLUS?
"The question of all questions for mankind - the problem which underlies all others and which is more deeply interesting than any other - is the ascertainment of the place which man occupies in nature."
We love our birds, but not always the chasing around to see as many as possible. Sometimes we'd rather just relax in a spot, take it in and come what may.
Our Birds PLUS tours have a more relaxed pace, the occasional long lunch at a winery, and we stop to look at other natural and cultural highlights along the way. Together with the park and our local guides, we'll endeavour to show you how human and natural changes over the millennia, centuries and recent times all influence what you'll see today.
But the tour is still focused on birds and it is led by a local, expert birder.
We think our Bird PLUS tours are a great trip for birders whose friends and family mightn't come on a pure birding trip, but would like to join for the mix of landscapes, walks, culture and overall abundance of nature.
Important note: if you're looking for a dedicated birding tour and maximising time in the field, then you might get itchy feet on these trips. We'd be happy to customise them for individuals and groups though. Our contact details are at the bottom of the page.