Enjoy a first class late autumn break with a spectacular number and variety of birds…
Lake Kerkini in northern Greece is a designated Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance), attracting the largest single wintering population of rare but confiding Dalmatian Pelicans, as well as around 40000 wildfowl, making it the top birding site in Greece and one of the best sites in the whole of eastern Europe. As well as a popular winter destination for thousands of birds, it is also a ‘migration hotspot’ and so an early November trip combines the best of both worlds. This spectacular bird show includes thousands of Flamingos alongside Spoonbills, Pygmy Cormorants, Black-necked Grebes, Black Storks, Red-crested Pochards, Ferruginous and White-headed Ducks, Smew, Water Pipits, various other passerines and possibly White Pelicans, Common Cranes and Caspian Terns. The very rare Lesser White-fronted Goose is also a regular visitor to the lake at the time of our visit! Besides all these exciting water birds, there is an impressive selection of raptors including Goshawk and Spotted, White-tailed and Eastern Imperial Eagles. Meanwhile the surrounding countryside offers possibilities such as Hen Harrier, Grey-headed, Syrian, Middle and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Blue Rock Thrush, Short-toed Treecreeper, Rock Nuthatch, Great Grey Shrike, Hawfinch and Cirl Bunting. We shall also explore the nearby Belles Mountains which form the border with Bulgaria, where we can hope for interesting birds like Golden and Booted Eagles, Black Woodpecker, Woodlark, Sombre Tit and Rock Bunting. A little further afield is the Axios Delta on the Black Sea coast, where we may find Stone Curlew, Kentish Plover, Spotted Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper and Mediterranean and Slender-billed Gulls. With short transfers and local birding, this is an ideal spot for a relaxing short break and by the end of the trip we should have a list of at least 130 species.
We depart Eastwood by people carrier and drive to Stansted airport to catch a late afternoon flight with Ryanair to Thessaloniki , which is just 60 miles south of Lake Kerkini, where we will be based at the cosy Limneo Hotel, not far from the lake.
We have four full days to explore this fabulous corner of Greece with a variety of habitats in a relatively small area. An undoubted highlight will be a boat trip on the lake where we can get incredibly close views of the Dalmatian Pelicans!
What the price includes:
Return flights with Ryanair from Stansted to Thessaloniki, all ground transport and excursions in Greece, boat trip on Lake Kerkini, four nights full board en-suite accommodation (dinner in flight on the outward journey not included), bird checklist and guidance.