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a Birds PLUS tour
in collaboration with Lake Kerkini National Park
LAKE KERKINI in Spring
with the Thessaloniki coast
07 - 13 May 2020
tbc - May 2021
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
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.
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
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The Detailed Itinerary and FAQs open in new pages. Please disable any 'Ad Blockers' that prevent their opening.
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.
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.
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.