Explore the meadows, mountains, lakes and forests of north Greece, for a feast of feathered delights and scale-winged wonders!
Our base for the week will be Lake Kerkini National Park, a wildlife rich area in north-east Greece, near to the Bulgarian border. It is a magical place and an early morning by the shore, watching pelicans, egrets and herons whilst being serenaded by Nightingale, Golden Oriole and Turtle Dove as the sun rises is a wonderful experience.
We will stay in the Limneo, a family run hotel next to Lake Kerkini, a site of international importance and famous for its rich birdlife and other wildlife. We’ll explore both the immediate surroundings of the lake and further afield. For butterflies in particular we’ll head up into the surrounding mountains, such as Mount Orvilos, Mount Menikio and Mount Belles, on the border of south western Bulgaria and northernmost Greece. We should be able to enjoy at least 75 butterfly species and perhaps 100, making for a great weeks butterflying!
Approximately 130 species have been recorded in the area. The highlights include Nettle-tree Butterfly, Pearly Heath, Idas Blue, Amanda’s Blue, Yellow-banded Skipper, Marbled Skipper, Clouded Apollo, Eastern Festoon, Black-veined White, Eastern Bath White, Powdered Brimstone, Blue-spot Hairstreak, Eastern Baton Blue, Ilex Hairstreak, Little Tiger Blue, Meleager’s Blue, Osiris Blue, Purple-shot Copper, Sooty Copper, Large Copper, Cardinal, Marbled Fritillary, Niobe Fritillary, Large Tortoiseshell, Balkan Marbled White, Lattice Brown and Woodland Ringlet.
Perhaps even more exciting than the number of species is the number of individuals of a species that it is possible to see. There can be dozens of Nettle-tree butterflies seen together at damp mud patches and similar numbers of Ilex Hairstreak make quite a sight as they flit amongst the Ilex scrub.
As the area is so rich in bird life we’re also teaming up with BirdWING (Birdwatching in Northern Greece) for this holiday. As a wildlife charity their mission is to raise awareness of birds in Greece and to raise money for the conservation and restoration of bird habitat in the region. These aims match our own and so some of the proceeds from this tour will be donated to BirdWING to help fund their Dalmatian Pelican conservation project.
The birds that we can see (out of the 300+ species recorded in the area) are just as exciting. On the lake itself there are Dalmatian Pelicans, White Pelican, Pygmy Coromorants, Herons, Egrets, White Storks, Glossy Ibis and more! As we explore the lake surrounding and further afield we’ll also be on the look out for Golden Oriole, European Bee-eater, Roller, Blue Rock Thrush, Red-backed Shrike, Scops Owl, Eagle Owl, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Penduline Tit, Black-eared Wheatear, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Hoopoe, Grey-headed Woodpecker Black-headed Bunting and Hawfinch – to name just a few of the avian delights to see!
Despite the large number of butterflies and birds to see we will not be rushing from place to place to build as large a list as possible. Our emphasis, as it is on all our holidays, is to take things leisurely and spend a reasonable amount at time at locations. We believe this is the best way of enjoying the wildlife and just soaking up the atmosphere and culture of the Country. So we will keep driving to a minimum and spend as much time as possible outside, on easy paced walks and relaxing, sociable picnics. For those that wish to bring cameras, there will be ample time and opportunity for photography. Our leaders are excellent and well respected wildlife photographers and will be more than happy to help you capture those special moments – of which we are sure there will be many!