Have you ever considered taking a Lake Kerkini Birding Break in winter? The 3 friends Mike, Bob and Steve from the UK decided to give it a try, on 8-11 February 2019. Here’s their trip report.
“We’ve just returned from a really great trip around Lake Kerkini. Mid-February was not going to be the best time for notching up a long species list but we were there just to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the relaxed pace of life in northern Greece.
Day 1-8 February 2019
All of the preliminary arrangements were made very efficiently by Chantel and our guide Maria was there at the airport to meet us. We were quickly taken off to an excellent birding spot en route to the Limneo GuestHouse in Chrysochorafa. Nikos, the owner manager, made us feel welcome and later took us out to one of the local restaurants where we enjoyed a traditional meal of fresh carp with plenty of local vegetables and chips.
Day 2 – 9 February 2019
On the next day Maria was happy to take us, at a relaxed pace, around Lake Kerkini before our ‘Coffee bell’ rang and we adjourned to a café overlooking the lake. We enjoyed lazy birdwatching from the terrace.
Our boat captain was waiting for us and we spent an enjoyable hour getting some close-up photos of the Pelicans and Cormorants. Back onshore we journeyed around the lake to find an excellent spot to set up our ‘scopes and have our substantial packed lunch looking out for waders on the shore. Further round and with scopes we could spot geese but sadly not our target, the Lesser White-fronted Goose. From there we headed up towards the mountains to a quarry where an Eagle Owl had been seen earlier in the week. By this time the temperature had dropped and by dusk we were ready to return to the guesthouse without positive sightings of the Owl. After another good meal in a different taverna around the village square we were ready for bed.
Day 3 – 10 February 2019
Our second full day was spent alongside the river and further round to the delta area of the lake. Maria knew where the best spots were and we were able to add more waterfowl and waders to our trip list. With an eye to the skies she also spotted a selection of high flying raptors for us.
Leaving the lake we headed off to the hills in search of deciduous woodland birds where we successfully connected with Great and Middle-spotted Woodpeckers. Further up in some pine forest we tried, unsuccessfully, for Crested Tit. Back to the GuestHouse and our third hearty meal in yet another village taverna. Later we wandered around the streets to locate the calling Little Owls. We counted three!
Day 4 – 11 February 2019
Our fourth and final day before flying home was spent near the airport at Kalochori National Park. Being both sea and brackish water we were able to encounter a new range of species.
In the end our trip total came to a maximum of 87 species which, given the time of year, we thought was pretty good.
A big thank you must go to Maria our guide. Her knowledge, good humour, careful driving skills and friendly nature made the trip into a really good experience. This was all complemented by the very comfortable accommodation and the food in the village. Our biggest regret was that we didn’t have a couple more days to enjoy the area. Oh well there is always another time – maybe in the Spring. “
Text by: Mike, Bob and Steve from the UK.
Images by: Giorgos Spiridakis
The 3 birding pals enjoyed their Lake Kerkini Birding Break from 8 till 11 February 2019. Organized by Natural Greece.
For more info on this holiday, you could visit the Tour Page here.
Bird lists – the bird lists of this trip is on e-birds, uploaded by Mike, aka Michael Bird.