Winter:

25- 31 January 2020

for spring dates click here

 

Walking:

Gentle

Group:

4 - 8

Days:

6

Cost:

£1,195 (+£100ss)

a Birds PLUS tour

in collaboration with Lake Kerkini National Park 

LAKE KERKINI in Winter

with neighbouring Serres, Kalochori & Thessaloniki

g. spiridakis

WINTER AROUND KERKINI

 This Birds PLUS tour showcases the very best of the region's birds in WINTER, but with time to visit local villages and heritage sites, meet farmers and fishermen, and hear from the park staff as to how they manage this incredible place. 

 

As well as Kerkini's lake and mountain habitats, we'll explore the mountains & valleys near Serres, and a morning by the coast and lagoons outside Thessaloniki, with a final 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

 

Day 1 – Arrive in Thessaloniki

 

Fly in & 90 min transfer to Kerkini hotel for 5 nights.

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

Evening birding.

Dalmatian pelican, few white pelican, Caspian tern, possibly

red-crested pochard

 

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, as well as birding the river valley to the south and western slopes. Visit a monk and his church above the lake.

Eagle owl (50%), sombre tit, rock bunting, hope for wildcat and other mammals at dusk.

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).

Lesser white-fronted goose, great spotted eagle, merlin and peregrine possible. 

 

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.

Crane possible, Syrian, grey-headed and middle spotted woodpecker, goshawk possible. Another jackal possibility.

Day 5 – the Iron Castle & wine

 

Grassland & crags round a Byzantine castle and surrounding valley. Dinner at a winery near Sidherokastro.  

Rock nuthatch. Blue rock thrush and crag martin some winters.

 

Day 6 – Kalochori lagoon & Thessaloniki

 

Meander to coastal lagoons and visit animal rescue centre. Late afternoon or evening flights 

Coastal wader and waterfowl deluxe. Slender-billed gull, spotted redshank, avocet & souslik

 

Thessaloniki 

 

We recommend you spend a night and day 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.

 

 

SHORT ITINERARY

the detailed itinerary can be found here

134 bird species overwinter

 

Highlights are the rare raptors: imperial eagle, golden eagle, greater spotted eagle,

white-tailed eagle and saker falcon

 

Red-crested pochard, ferruginous duck, red-breasted merganser, white-headed duck, flamingo

and lesser-white fronted goose also overwinter or pass through.

Its 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.

 

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 them 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

 

Day 6 (Th):  Serres & Alistrati cave

 

Day 7 (Fr):  Kalochori lagoon & Thessaloniki

 

Day 8 (Sa):  Departure

MAP

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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