Spring Birding Tour in Northern Greece


A rewarding trip to one of the best preserved areas in Europe with outstanding scenery, great habitats and more than 200 species of birds to see!

Day 1
The tour starts in the early afternoon in Thessaloniki, as the tour participants will be picked up from their hotels in the area or from Tessaloniki Airport until 14.00 h (2pm). Then we will transfer (~ 2 hours) north to Kerkini Lake, where we will check-in for three nights.

Day 2 & Day 3
Two days at Kerkini Lake. Nestled picturesquely between two separate mountain ranges, Lake Kerkini is one of the true jewels of European birding and the core of a nature reserve that is a relatively unexplored wonderland of beauty and biological diversity.
We will visit all the key birdwatching parts of the lake, as in one of the mornings we can do a 3-hours boat trip to the heron and cormorant nesting colony, which provides very good opportunities for bird photography as well.
The key species of birds to be seen in the lake include the White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Bittern, Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Black Stork, Black Kite, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Great Reed Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler and other species of waterbirds.
In the broad-leaved forests and shrubs, steppes and arid areas in vicinity of the lake we can see various breeding birds like the Long-legged Buzzard, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Wryneck, Red-rumped Swallow, Masked Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Calandra Lark, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Black-headed Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Ortolan Bunting. In late April migrating Red-footed Falcons and Levant Sparrowhawks are quite likely too.

Day 4
Today we will be driving east towards the Nestos river area, and on the way we will make a long stop for birdwatching in the area of Mount Paggeo, searching for different species of mountain birds like Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Water Pipit and Horned Lark (ssp. balkanica). We will be staying for two nights in a small hotel in the Nestos area.

Day 5
Full day in the Nestos river area, incl. the Nestos gorge, riverine forests and Lake Chrissoupouli. The main birds likely to be seen in the gorge include the Rock Partridge, Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Eurasian Crag Martin, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Western Rock Nuthatch, Rock Bunting, Cirl Bunting. In the area of Lake Chrissoupouli we will be able to see Western Marsh Harrier, Pygmy Cormorant and a big variety of herons, egrets, reed warblers, plus, by a lucky chance, Great Spotted Cuckoo.
Day 6
Today we will transfer further east to the Evros Delta, with a stop at the southern part of Vistonida Lake and at the complex of small wetlands around Porto Lagos, where we can see a variety of water birds, including the Greater Flamingo, Dalmatian Pelican, Western Marsh Harrier, Stone Curlew, Little Owl, Zitting Cisticola and a variety of breeding and migrating waders, terns and shore-birds.

In the afternoon we will explore the area of Ismarida Lake, which is very good for White-tailed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Lesser Keastrel, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Penduline Tit, etc. From here we have a two hour transfer to our hotel, which is in a small village, not far from Dadya Forests. Accommodation for three nights.

Day 7
Full day at Dadya National Park (Dadya Forests), where we will be searching for the Eurasian Black Vulture, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Black Stork, Sardinian Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear (ssp. melanoleuca), Sombre Tit, Masked Shrike, etc.

Day 8
Full day at the Evros Delta
Key species of bird likely to be seen: Greater Flamingo, Ferruginous Duck, Spur-winged Lapwing, Marsh Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Collared Pratincole, White-winged Tern, Black Tern, Whiskered Turn, other migrating & breeding waders, shore-birds, gulls and terns.
In the dry habitats we will be looking for the Stone Curlew, European Roller, European Bee-eater, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Isabelline Wheater, Tawny Pipit, Olivaceous Warbler. Here we will have another good chance to see migrating Red-footed Falcons and Levant Sparrowhawks, plus some other species of raptors.

Day 9
Transfer back to Thessaloniki with stops for roadside birding, including the wetlands in Thessaloniki area.
Overnight in the area of Thessaloniki.
Day 10
Departure from Thessaloniki
If the return flight is late in the day we can visit some other birding sites not far from the Airport.

During the tour the White Stork, Eurasian Hoopoe, Black-headed subspecies of the Yellow Wagtail, Red-backed Shrike, Spanish Sparrow, Corn Bunting can be observed almost everywhere in the lowlands.

Western Rock Nuthatch by Mladen Vasilev_small
Western Rock Nuthatch by Mladen Vasilev

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