25- 31 January 2020
4 - 8
a Birds PLUS tour
in collaboration with Lake Kerkini National Park
LAKE KERKINI in Winter
with neighbouring Serres, Kalochori & Thessaloniki
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
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.
Dalmatian pelican, few white pelican, Caspian tern, possibly
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
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.
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
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.