Days:

7

Walking:

Gentle

Group:

4 - 7

Cost:

£1,295 (+£100ss)

a Birds PLUS tour

in collaboration with Lake Kerkini National Park 

LAKE KERKINI in Spring

with the Thessaloniki coast

Spring:

07 - 13 May 2020
tbc -  May 2021

for winter dates click here

g. spiridakis

LAKES, LAGOONS & ALPINE SLOPES

We've partnered with the Lake Kerkini National Park to design a Birds PLUS tour that showcases the very best of the region's birds through the eyes of the people who live here. So expect pelicans, raptors, storks, waders and warblers a-plenty, PLUS monks, nuns and buffalo farmers. 

 

As well as Kerkini's lake and mountain habitats, we'll spend a day on sub-alpine slopes overlooking the sea, a morning by coastal lagoons outside Thessaloniki, and then an evening in this historic and little-known city.

 

Add in a trip to 11th century hot springs, boat rides, morning walks in jackal territory and fantastic food and local wine, and we think this a birding trip like no other.

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

g. spiridakis

 

SHORT ITINERARY

the detailed itinerary can be found here 

Day 1 – Arrive in Thessaloniki

Fly in & 90 min transfer to Kerkini hotel for 4 nights.

Thessaloniki is well worth a day before or after the tour.

Evening birding.

Dalmatian pelican, squacco & night heron, little bittern​

Day 2 – S & W Kerkini, forest & boat

 

Nb. Days 2, 3 & 4 often alternate depending on weather, especially for the boat.

Boat ride onto lake & flooded forest, as well as birding the river valley to the south. Visit a monk and his church above the lake.

Raptors, black stork, masked shrike, spoonbills, olive-tree warbler

 

Day 3 – Eastern Kerkini & jackal walk

 

Great views of the lake from the embankment. Early-ish start

to try for jackal. Lunch with water buffalo (and shepherd).

More pelicans, pygmy cormorants & heron

 

Day 4 – Northern Kerkini & nunnery

 

 

Change of scenery: scrub then forested slopes and a quarry. Thee gets to a nunnery before an evening jackal walk, then hot springs.

Subalpine warbler, black-eared wheatear, golden eagle

 

Day 5 – the Iron Castle, wine & caves

 

Grassland & crags round a Byzantine castle and surrounding valley. Lunch at a winery before the Alistrati cave.  2 nights by Paggaio.

Rock nuthatch, blue rock thrush, short-toed eagle, less. kestrel (50%)

 

Day 6 – Axios Delta & Thessaloniki

 

Meander to coastal lagoons and visit animal rescue centre.

Late afternoon & evening in Upper Town of Thessaloniki.

Stone curlew, waders, Med. gull, Caspian tern & souslik

 

Day 7 – Thessaloniki & the aerodrome

 

 

Transfer to airport for any early flights, but we recommend you spend at least a morning with us to see this superb city, best described in Mark Mazower's 'Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews'. Or just put your feet up.

 

 

A full, day by day run through of the itinerary, including details on hotels, meals and timings, can be found here 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What to bring, weather, currency, tipping, flights... we've tried to

answer everything here

 

 

The Detailed Itinerary and FAQs open in new pages. Please disable any 'Ad Blockers' that prevent their opening.

 

MAP

Day 1 (Sa):  Arrival & transfer to Kerkini

 

Day 2 (Su):  S. & W. Kerkini, forest & boat ride

 

Day 3 (Mo): E. Kerkini & jackal walk

 

Day 4 (Tu):  N. Kerkini & nunnery

 

Day 5 (We): The Iron Castle, wine & caves

 

Day 6 (Th):  Axios National Park & Thessaloniki

 

Day 7 (Sa):  Departure

 

137 bird species nest, with 163 resting on migration.

 

Waterbird species nesting in the riparian forest include great and pygmy cormorant, little egret, grey, squacco & night heron, spoonbill & glossy ibis.

 

Black-necked grebes are found in floating nests, with whiskered and black tern nesting on leaves of aquatic plants. Dalmatian pelicans breed since 2003 on artificial platforms.

 

  Breeding raptors include peregrine falcon, Levant sparrowhawk, short-toed, lesser spotted, booted and white-tailed eagle, black kite and honey buzzard.

Pygmy cormorant*

Dalmatian pelican*

White pelican

 Night heron

 Squacco heron

Purple heron

 Glossy ibis

  Spoonbill

 Flamingo

White stork

Black stork

Haliaetus albicilla 

Aquila chrysaetos*  

Circaetus gallicus  

Himantopus himantopus  

Larus michahellis*

Columba livia  

Otus scops 

Apus melba  

Merops apiaster  

Upupa epops 

Dendrocopos syriacus*  

 

Crag martin

 Red-rumped swallow

Alpine accentor*

 Rock-thrush

 Blue rock-thrush*

 Cetti's warbler*

 Olivaceous warbler

Bearded reedling*

Sombre tit*

 Rock nuthatch*

 Cirl bunting*

Ptyonoprogne rupestris 

Cecropis daurica  

Prunella collaris* 

Monticola saxatilis

Monticola solitarius*  

Cettia cetti*  

Hippolais pallida  

Panurus biarmicus* 

Poecile lugubris* 

Sitta neumayer* 

Emberiza cirlus* 

White-tailed eagle

 Golden eagle*

Short-toed eagle

  Black-winged stilt

  Yellow-legged gull*

  Rock dove

 Scops owl

 Alpine swift

  Bee-eater

  Hoopoe

  Syrian woodpecker*

 

Phalacrocorax pygmeus*  

Pelecanus crispus* 

Pelecanus onocrotulus  

Nycticorax nycticorax  

Ardeola ralloides  

Ardea purpurea  

Plegadis falcinellus  

Platalea leucorodia  

Phoenicopterus roseus

Ciconia ciconia

Ciconia nigra 

THE BIRDS

 

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.

 

So our Birds PLUS tours set a more relaxed pace, with the occasional long lunch at a winery, and we stop to look at many of the 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. 

 

 

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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