GENERAL INFO & SITE ACCOUNTS
During this two week holiday we stayed the first week on the island of Thassos which is located just south of the north-eastern province of Thrace. On the island we did not totally focus on birds. We also realized that the end of August was not the most ideal period of the year to go there for birdwatching. We alternated the standard beach holiday with doing some birding at the appartment’s surroundings and during hikes around the island. Although the island has no birding sites of particular interest we did have some nice sightings typical for the Mediterranean. During the second week we focussed more or like on birding making a tour on the mainland of Thrace. We visited several wetlands like Evros, Porto Lagos and Lake Mitrikou, and the forests of Dadia located close to the Turkish border.
For preparation we used the usual websites www.fatbirder.com, www.camacdonald.com and www.bsc-eoc.org/links/links.jsp We also used several trip reports available at www.birdtours.co.uk and www.travellingbirder.com. Although reports about the region are not plentiful we found some which were quite helpful for preparations. Another interesting website about the birding sites is available at www.ornithologiki.gr/en/sppe/enper.htm Information about birding on Thassos is available at http://gothassos.com/Birdlife.htm
Most tour operators offer holiday packages to the island of Thassos. We flew from Amsterdam to the airport of Kavala which is about a 10 minutes drive from the ferry to the island leaving from Keramoti. We stayed in Potos which is in the south of the island. Potos is a small scale quiet and relaxing resort with several restaurants and taverna’s along the waterfront and beach. However the north-eastern mainland was not offered by tour operators. We only booked the car for the second week and arranged everything by ourselves.
Car rental was booked in front for 3 days on the island and for another week during our second week on the mainland. Roads are fairly quiet in this part of Greece and we had no problems at all finding our way. The road conditions where quite good although signposting is very poor on the minor roads.
During the whole trip we had warm and sunny weather with temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees C.
ACCOMODATION & FOOD:
On Thassos we stayed in the Makedonia Appartments on the east side of Potos. The quality was okay with fairly large and clean appartments with your own balcony. There was also a swimming pool and poolbar in the central area. Because tour operators did not offer tour packages on the mainland we had to find our own hotels here which was no problem at all. Numbers of hotels are not plentiful but the hotels that we found were of very good quality and fairly cheap. In Makri we stayed in Hotel Klio (www.hotelklio.gr) which was a somewhat motel-like place with very large and clean double rooms for € 40 per night. In Dadia we stayed in the very nice Ecotourist Centre (http://ecoclub.com/dadia/lodge.html) for € 36 per night. In Porto Lagos we had a large clean room with aircon for € 30 per night in the Porto Vistonis Hotel, and finally we stayed in the very good Hotel Xastero in Keramoti for € 40 per night. The food was very good especially on the mainland.
BIRDING SITES :
Evros Delta: protected wetland and national park close to the border with Turkey. The area consists of coastal lakes, lagoons, sandy islets, marshes and reedbeds. During winter the area attracts thousands of waterfowl from northern Europe.
Dadia Forest Reserve: located close to the turkish border this forest reserve is renowned as
one of the two remaining European feeding and breeding grounds for Cinereous and Griffon Vultures. From the 38 species of predatory birds in Europe 36 can be found in the area.
Lake Mitrikou: a natural freshwater lake surrounded by reedbeds. It is located near the village of Pagouria some 25 km east of Porto Lagos.
Porto Lagos: a complex of coastal brackish and freshwater lakes surrounded by reedbeds, saltflats and riverine forests.
Nestos Delta: a river delta near Keramoti with coastal lagoons and small patches of riverine forest surrounded by agricultural land. Due to extended irrigation works the area has lost much of its importance for birds.