Review of the Year - 2017
Updated: May 8
Here's a short video looking back on our monthly highlights from a very enjoyable year. Thank you to those who visited us and helped out, and best wishes to all for 2018.
The year started with scenes from winters past, with Lesser Prespa freezing to the point that we could walk on it. Incredible for us, but less so for wildlife. We wrote about the travails of a Little grebe in a video post here.
Always a quiet month, and a perfect time to test new tours and ideas. As the snows receded we headed to Galicica, where we explored gentle hikes for bird, butterfly and plant explorers.
Rock nuthatch nest on the rocks above Ayios Yermanos most years. Together with our good friend Julian Hoffman we took to the hills to video them with a telescope and digi-scope attachment, with the video posted on our blog in June.
Our first visitors of the year arrived for a week of hikes, cooking classes and visits to the archaeological sites of Ancient Macedonia.
Spring is in full swing and brings with it some of the best birding and plant viewing of the year. A group from Denmark visited us and were fortunate to see a plant so important we can't tell you it's location - Phelypaea boissieri - a spectacular root-parasitic plant.
Ohrid is on another scale. An even bigger lake than Prespa, it is on the shores of a historic old city, a cultural capital for centuries, ruled over by Tsars and Emperors.
The highlight of the month and possibly the year was nearly standing on one of Europe's rarest plants, the Ghost orchid. And the only reason we were there was because we were looking for fresh hairs at a tree used by bears. We put together a video of the plant and the bears here.
Away from the Balkans and back 'home' in England, we attended the British Birdfair for the first time, and were very pleased to win the award for best Tourism and Travel stand.
Autumn took us to the Nestos delta for some end-of-summer sun and the chance to see migrating birds. A farewell for another year to the region's bee-eaters.
Friends came to visit us for a holiday in the Rhodope mountains. Home to some of Europe's last virgin forest, we also had the chance to track bears, wolves and chamois.
Coming home one evening in Prespa we saw a flicker in a neighbour's chimney. A Little owl was perched there and kindly waited whilst we popped inside for our camera.
The end of the year brings snow once again, and so the feeders are out for the birds. We're very lucky to have Fieldfare as regular visitors to our garden.