Bird watching tourism

Bird watching

Popular Sites for bird watching

Athens:
Athens Panorama, Imittos Mt, Schinias National Park, Oropos Estuary, Athens Airport, Athens & Evia.
Top 10 Species: Greater Spotted Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon, Rufous Scrub Robin, Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush, Greater Short-toed Lark, Sombre Tit, Ruppell’s Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed Bunting

Peloponese: Nafplio Gulf
Top 5 Species: White Great Heron, Kentish Plover, Slender-billed Gull

Central Greece: Parnassos Mt
Top 5 Species: Rock Partidge, Black Woodpecker, Rock Thrush, Rock Nuthatch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting

Northern Greece: Kerkini Lake
Top 5 Species: Pygmy Cormornat, Dalmatian Pelican, Black Stork, Spur-winged Lapwing Isabelline Wheatear, Masked Shrike

Evros Delta – Dadia
Top 5 Species: Forest Egyptian Vulture, Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Imperial Eagle, Spotted Eagle, Roller, Black-headed Bunting

Western Greece:
Mesolongi Lagoons Amvrakikos Gulf

Islands:
Lesvos, Limnos, Crete

Information centers for Greece’s “Wetlands of International Importance” (Ramsar wetlands)
There are eleven “Wetlands of International Importance” in Greece. There are visitors’ information centers at most of them.
IMPORTANT NOTE!: Please contact ahead the Information Center you are interested to, in order to check the visiting hours and general services status.

1. Evros Delta (NE Greece, border with Turkey)
Traianoupolis, 14 km east of Alexandroupolis. Tel: +30 25510-61000, e-mail: evroswet@hol.gr

2. Vistonis Lake-Porto Lagos Lagoons (Thrace, Greece). Porto Lagos, on the National Road from Xanthi town to Komotini town. Tel: +30 25410-96646

3. Nestos Delta
Keramoti Town, 45 km from Kavala town, North Greece. Tel: +30 25910-51831.
E-mail: delta-nestos@kav.forthnet.gr
“Visitor’s Information Center of the Nestos River Riparian Forest” run by the Forestry Service of Kavala town. Location: west Nestos forest site. You’ll find the cross road for the center on the road from Keramoti town to Chrissoulopis town. Tel: +30 2510-247042 / 2510-461803

4. Lake Kerkini (North Greece, close to Serres town). Kerkini village, west of the lake, 60 km from Serres town and 45 km from Sidirokastron town. Tel: +30 23270-28004 / 23270-28005.
E-mail: wkerkini@otenet.gr

5. Lake Koronia-Lake Volvi (North Greece, 60 km from Thessaloniki town). Apollonia village, south of the Lake Volvi shores. Tel: +30 23930-41004.

6. Aliakmon-Loudias-Axios-Gallikos Delta & Kitros Salinas (Chalastra village, close to Thessaloniki town, North Greece). Tel: +30 2310-794811 / 2310-792293. E-mail: wicaxios@otenet.gr

7. Amvrakikos Lagoons
Information Center: (Hill of Salaora, close to Arta town (on the road from the Arta town to the Koronissia village), West Greece). You can ask to see the live video from the camera located near by the Dalmatian Pelican breeding islets.
Tel: +30 26810-74772, E-mail: etanam@otenet.gr
Kopraina Natural History Museum, close to Kopraina lighthouse: Tel: +30 26810-69683), E-mail: etanam@otenet.gr
Rodia Wetland Center-Amvrakikos Gulf (postal address: Stroggili, 482 00 FILIPPIADA, HELLAS-GREECE). Located in Stroggili village (on the national road from Arta to Preveza, turn on the cross road for Petra-Stroggili villages). It is organizing boat birdwatching trips into the area and it is also running an information center.
Tel: +30 26830-41219, E-mail: rodia@otenet.gr
Birdwatching Tower of Stroggili (hill of Agia Aikaterini): Tel: +30 26810-74772, 26810-69683, 26820-89150.
Children’s for the Nature (Chersonissos of Preveza, Neochori, 4 klm northeast of the Preveza town) Tel: +30 26810-74772 / 26810-69683 / 26820-89150.

8. Messolongi-Aetolikon Lagoons (Aetolikon town (east bridge area), close to Messolongi town, SW Greece). Tel: +30 26320-24128. E-mail: icmel@mes.forthnet.gr

9. Kotichi Lagoon-Strofilia Forest (Lappas village, NW Peloponissos) Tel: +30 26930-31651.

Why start bird watching

You can enjoy the presence of birds merely by seeing them or listening to them. Nevertheless, most people would agree that the enjoyment increases with knowledge. What species are they? How do they live in the wild?
Although in Greece it is not a widespread activity, Birdwatching is well known in many parts of the world, and millions of people practice it. Acquaintance with other residents of our planet frequently leads to exciting exploration of new places, where new experiences and sights are uncovered in a combination of fun and learning. Birds, more than any other kind of living creature, are especially suitable for this purpose, as they fly and therefore are easier to perceive.

What do I need to start bird watching?

Field guide
As you learn to recognize birds, it is very important to have a good field guide book and to study it. Field guides have sketches and clues which help recognize all birds living in a geographical district. In the case of Greece, the district you would choose would, of course, be Europe.
Look at the pictures. Learn the various groups of birds and their characteristics. Other important clues are the regions of the country and the time of year when you might see a particular bird. You will never see a Martin or a Cuckoo in January, or an Ostrich in Greece.
Habitat is also very helpful. A small pigeon in your garden in January might turn out to be a Collared Dove. A similar one in a harvested field in August might be a Turtle Dove.

Optical equipment
If we try to see certain species “with the naked eye”, we will merely scare them away or seriously disturb them. Besides, the details of the plumage in many species can only be observed by using “indiscreet” optical equipment. Therefore, it is best for everyone concerned to watch from a certain distance, with field glasses or a telescope.
The field glasses are, along with the field guide, the most indispensable equipment for birdwatching.
The most common field glasses for birdwatching magnify the viewed object from 7 or 8 to 10 times (7x, 8x, 10x). It is usually preferable to use smaller magnification (7x or 8x) when watching birds in a forest, and a larger magnification (10x-12x) when watching birds in open spaces such as wetlands.
Telescopes are used in cases where the birds are far away from us, such as far inside a lake or the sea, in high precipices or rocks etc. The most commonly preferred telescopes are those who magnify the viewed object from 20 to 60 times, depending on our requirements.
In this case, you will need a reflex camera with a telelens (fixed or zoom) over 200 mm, as well as a special tripod for field photography.

What to do when you see a new or different species
What will you do when you see a new species of bird? First of all, you must from a general idea of its size, its shape, its color, its voice and its behavior, which is particular to each species. Compare the bird’s size to others well known to you, such as the Sparrow, the Blackbird, the Pigeon.
Look at its shape. . Is it short and thick or tall and slender?
Leg length is also very helpful, as it varies significantly between species.
Take a look at the main colors, and also at the details of plumage designs. Some are impressive, such as the red throat of the Robin, the wide white strips on the wings of the Chaffinch or the white cheeks of the Great tit. Others are less intense, but almost always are characteristic to the species.
Watch the beak and legs. The beak may be short and slender (as in insectivores), short and strong (as in seedeaters), long and thin (as in fish eaters) or curved (as in raptors) or may have intermediate characteristics.

Notebook
If you look at the field guide an hour after an observation, you will find it is difficult to recall the exact details. Our memory deceives us, as we frequently find out.
The safest way to deal with this is to take detailed notes as soon as possible – if you can – while you are looking at the bird or immediately afterwards. Later you will have the leisure to find out what species of bird you have been watching.
Finally, remember that it is rather unlikely that you will meet with something truly rare. But watch out for birds escaped from cages! They often appear in gardens or mingle in swarms of other birds and appear very strange. If you have taken notes, you may discover, even many years later, that the strange species which had baffled you for so long was simply a «winged fugitive».
Does all this seem difficult? It isn’t really. It’s just good Birwatching.

Useful Phone Numbers

Hellenic Ornithological Society
Vas. Irakleiou 24, GR-10682, Athens, Greece. Tel/Fax. +30 210 8227937, +30 210 8228704, e-mail: info@ornithologiki.gr
Kastritsiou 8, GR-54623, Thessaloniki, Greece. Tel/ Fax: +30 2310 244245, E-mail: thess@ornithologiki.gr

Wounded wild bird
Hellenic Wildlife Hospital (EKPAZ)
Aegina: Tel: +30 22970 31338, Thessaloniki: Tel: +30 2310 724969, Mobile: Tel: +30 6979252277

ANIMA (Association for the Protection and Welfare of Wildlife)
Menelaou 134, Kalithea, Athens, 17676. Telephone: +30 210 9510075, 6972664675. Fax: +30 210 9510075

Illegal hunting or wild bird commerce
Ministry of Agriculture: Tel: +30 210 3606901

Ringed Bird
Hellenic Ornithological Society: Tel: +30 210 8228704, 210 8227937

Habitat threats
Ministry of the Environment: Tel: +30 213 1515000, fax 210 6447608

Environmental threats
Ministry of the Environment: Tel: +30 213 1515000, fax 210 6447608

Forest fire
Ministry of Agriculture: Tel: 191

Sources: greecebirdtours.com, ornithologiki.gr