Kerkini: Birds PLUS

 

LAKE KERKINI

with the Thessaloniki coast 

Walking:

Gentle

Cost:

£1,195 (+£100ss)

Group:

4 - 8

Days:

8

2019:

Jan   20 - 27

May 18 - 25

2020:

Jan   18 - 25

May 16 - 23

our Birds PLUS tour

in collaboration with Lake Kerkini National Park 

g. spiridakis

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

separate pages.

g. spiridakis

 

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.  

 

Kalochori

Mt. Paggaio

Alistrati

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."

Thomas Huxley

 

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. 

 

Lake Kerkini in winter, taken from the north-east

 

BALKAN TRACKS

CONTACT

FOLLOW US

info@balkantracks.com

0044 (0)7506 381757

 

 

Unit 8A, Red Lane Mill, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, LS28 5UJ

UK

 

 

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