Long Weekend at Lake Kerkini

Dalmatian Pelicans by Mladen Vasilev

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.

 

Kerkini Lake National Park has a lot to offer throughout the year. Plenty of White and Dalmatian pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, herons, ducks and storks, European Rollers and European Bee-eaters, riverside forests, water-lilies and fantastic panoramic view from the mountains of Belasitsa and Krousia give it a characteristic atmosphere in spring and summer. Key species of birds to be seen in the area of Lake Kerkini in spring and summer includes Ferruginous Duck, Pygmy Cormorant, Dalmatian Pelican, White Pelican, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Golden Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Stone Curlew, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Little Owl, Eurasian Hoopoe, European Roller, European Bee-eater, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear (ssp. melanoleuca), Eastern Orphean Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Sombre Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Western Rock Nuthatch, Woodchat Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Common Rock Sparrow, Black-headed Bunting, etc., while on passage you can expect to see Red-footed Falcon, Eleonora’s Falcon, Montagu’s Harrier, and many species of passerines.

In winter too, the lake hosts big flocks of waterfowl and waders – among the species that we can expect to see here are the Dalmatian Pelican, White Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Whooper Swan, Tundra Swan (ssp. bewickii), Greater White-fronted Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Smew, Greater Flamingo, Greater Spotted Eagle, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Common Crane, Cetti’s Warbler, Moustached Warbler, as well as many waders and gulls.

The forests around hold Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper, Sombre Tit, Hawfinch, etc. The Wallcreeper is another highlight in the area, as this magnificent bird can be found wintering on some of the local cliffs. One of the days if weather allows we can make a boat trip in the lake and get closer to pelicans and flamingos.

The combination of wildfowl, flora and fauna, good weather for a large part of the year and a virtually traffic-free track around the lake make it ideal for birding.

 

Greater Flamingo by Mladen Vasilev
Greater Flamingo by Mladen Vasilev

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