THASSOS & NORTH-EASTERN GREECE

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ITINERARY & DAILY ACCOUNTS

PART THREE

 

 

ITINERARY:

 

26 August

Flight A’dam-Kavala. Onwards transfer to Potos on Thassos

27 August

Relaxing day exploring the surroundings of Potos village

28 August

Hike to the village of Kalyves Potou

29 August

Trip around the island by rental car

30 August

Hike through northern pineforests near Panagia

31 August

Tour to mountain villages

1 September

Relaxing day exploring the surroundings of Potos village

2 September

Car pickup at airport and onwards drive to Makri

3 September

Visit to Evros and onwards to Dadia

4 September

Birding the Dadia forest

5 September

Tour day visiting Mitrikou Lake and onwards to Porto Lagos

6 September

Birding Porto Lagos area and coastal lakes

7 September

Visit to Nestos Gorge. Onwards drive to Keramoti

8 September

Birding Nestos area.

9 September

Back to airport and flight home

 

DAILY ACCOUNTS:

 

26 August

Morning flight to Kavala where we arrived around noon. The transfer to the fishing village of Keramoti took only 15 minutes. After waiting for 30 minutes we got on the ferry to Thassos. During the boat trip we saw several gulls like Yellow-legged Gull (common), Audouin’s Gull and Mediterranean Gull. The transfer from Thassos town in the north of the island to Potos in the south took about an hour because we had to drop off other tourists at several resorts. We arrived at Makedonia Appartments at 2:00 PM. After a drink at the poolbar we left to explore the nice village which was only a 5 minutes walk. We were back at the appartment at 4:30 PM. From our balcony we had a nice view on an olive grove where we saw several hoopoe and red-backed shrike. In the evening we went back to the village for a nice dinner along the waterfront.

 

27 August

The first hours of the morning I made a walk through the olive groves behind the appartments. Besides the usual birds I had Olive-tree Warbler and Lesser Grey Shrike. Afterwards we had a late breakfast in the village. Along the waterfront we relaxed a bit during the hot hours of the day. Later in the afternoon we took a walk on a rocky peninsula east of the Potos beach with nice views on the village and beach. Here we had amongst Eurasian Wryneck, Crag Martin and Masked Shrike. We were back at the appartment at 6:00 PM and after a shower we again had a nice greek dinner at the waterfront.

 

28 August

Again a pre-breakfast walk through the olive groves but I did not note any new birds. After breakfast we took a few hours walk through olive groves and open fields towards the village of Kalyves Potou. We saw amongst Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin, Lesser Kestrel and a Golden Oriole. On the way back we had a light lunch and a drink in a restaurant along the road just outside Potos. We arrived back in Potos around 3:00 PM and relaxed on a terrace along the waterfront. Walked back to the appartment and birded again from the balcony. After a shower we went for dinner at the restaurant where we had lunch in the afternoon. The food  was great and there was a wedding party going on in the restaurant. It was really fun seeing the Greeks celebrating and dancing.

 

29 August

We collected our rental car and made a sightseeing tour around the island driving the circular road along the coast. We paid a visit to several villages and Thassos town in the north. On the way back we took a swim at the bay of Alykes, where we also visited the old ruins with the same name. Although we did not concentrate on birds we saw a few new species like Northern Goshawk, Pallid Swift, Woodchat Shrike and Collared Flycatcher. In the evening we again went to the restaurant just outside the village.

 

30 August

Today we drove to the mountain village of Panagia and made a few hour’s walking tour through the pineforests surrounding the village. New birds observed during the walk were amongst Eurasian Jay, Raven, Willow Warbler, Bonneli’s Warbler and Chiffchaff. We arrived back at Potos at around 4:00 PM and went for a cool beer at our favorite tavern along the waterfront. In the evening we had dinner in the village.

 

31 August

Today we made a tour visiting the mountain villages of Kazaviti and Maries. We explored the surroundings of both villages by walking some trails. We noted amongst Treecreeper, Northern Wheatear and a Northern Shrike. Again arrived back in Potos early afternoon and relaxed on our balcony untill it was time for dinner.

 

1 September

In the morning we birded the fields and olive groves surrounding the village. Afterwards we again visited the rocky peninsula just east of Potos. We had amongst Squacco Heron (flying over), Whinchat, Black-eared Wheatear and Ortolan Bunting. We went back to the village for lunch and relaxed for the rest of the day along the waterfront.

 

2 September

After breakfast we were transferred back to the mainland. We arrived at the Kavala Airport around noon where we collected our rental car for our onwards week on the Thracian mainland. After the city of Xanthi we took a right turn onto the almost deserted new highway towards Alexandroupouli. During the drive we saw several Little Egrets and Grey Herons flying by. About 10 km before this city we took a righthand turn along the coast to the village of Makri, a small scale beach resort which is very popular amongst the Greeks. We checked in at Hotel Klio and made a walk along the beach and the surrounding woodlands and scrubs. We noted amongst Hoopoe, Syrian Woodpecker, Golden Oriole, Cirl Bunting and Greenfinch. In the evening we had a fine fresh fish meal in a small restaurant along the beach.

 

3 September

After breakfast we left Hotel Klio for our onwards journey further east. After driving through the city of Alexandroupouli we arrived at the Evros Information Center near the village of Loutros. From here we paid a short visit to the Evros Delta. We were only allowed to visit the north-western section of the park with tracks along a few ditches and canals. A large section of the park is officially out of bounds to visitors and can only be visited with a pre-arranged guide. Entrance to the area towards the Turkish border is prohibited and is actually a military zone. During our short drive through the park we noted Great Egret, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt and several Kingfisher. On our onwards drive we paid a short visit to the village of Feres. From here we headed north along the Turkish border and arrived at Dadia at 6:00 PM. We checked in for two nights at the Dadia Ecotourist Center and had a drink at the restaurant opposite the lodge. In the evening we went to the village of Dadia where we a nice dinner in a typical Greek restaurant located next to the village square.

 

4 September

After breakfast we walked the trails up towards the observation hide. The walk through the pineforests took about two hours and we noted amongst Syrian Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch and a flock of Red Crossbills. At the observation hide we had a nice view at the feeding site and had several Egyptian Vultures, Griffon Vultures and Cinereous Vultures. We went back to the lodge with a tourist bus where we arrived at 2:00 PM. During the rest of the afternoon we did some birding around the lodge. Besides Lesser Whitethroat and a Booted Eagle we did not see any new species. In the evening we again went to the same restaurant in Dadia village.

 

5 September

We left the lodge early because we had a rather full program for today. From Dadia we headed north until the town of Soufli. Here we took a side route westwards along the border with Bulgaria leading back towards Komotini where the route connected with the main road. During the drive through this mountainous and desolated area we had amongst Long-legged Buzzard, Bonelli’s Eagle and a Dipper at a mountain stream along the road. Back on the main road we took a turnoff just beyond Komotini which lead to the village of Pagouria. In Pagouria we took the unpaved road towards Lake Mitrikou. The reed fringed lake was very productive having amongst Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous Duck, Purple Heron, Marsh Harrier, White-winged and Black Tern and Great Reed-warbler. We headed further over unpaved tracks through cultivated fields towards the village of Fanari. During the rather bumpy ride we noted amongst Hoopoe, Crested Lark and lots of Bee-eaters. In Fanari we had a drink along the waterfront. The accomodation did not look very promising here so we decided to look for a hotel in nearby Porto Lagos. Here we found a nice hotel at the west end of the village called Porto Vistonis. In the evening we had dinner at a restaurant in the harbour surrounded only by locals and the towns’ Priest.

 

6 September

Today we had a full day to bird the area. We first drove back towards Fanari where we visited the lakes of Alyki, Ksirolimni and Karatza which are located beyond Fanari coming from Porto Lagos. At the lakes and during the drive towards them we had amongst Mute Swan, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Marsh Sandpiper, Eurasian Coot, Redshank (common), Whiskered Tern and Sky Lark. Around noon we went back towards Porto Lagos and had a drink at the Flamingo restaurant located just outside Porto Lagos with nice views on the surrounding wetlands. Here we had amongst Little Grebe, Eared Grebe, Shag, Eurasian Curlew, Common Tern and Little Ringed Plover. Around 3:00 PM we were back at the hotel. While my wife stayed at the hotel I birded an area close to our hotel located just west of the village. The sandbars produced Common Buzzard, Little Stint, Temminck’s Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Oystercatcher and Kentish Plover. The surrounding woodlands produced Roller, Jay, Magpie, Golden Oriole and Semi-collared Flycatcher. Back at the hotel we had a short rest before going for dinner at the same place as yesterday.

 

7 September

We left Porto Lagos after breakfast and headed further west. While leaving the village behind us we saw hundreds of Greater Flamingos on the vast and shallow Lake Vistonia. After passing Xanthi we took a turnoff to the right near the village of Toxotes leading to the entrance of the Nestos Gorge. Near a restaurant along the rail track was the start of a nice trail through the beautiful gorge which could be followed for about 15 km eventually ending up at the village of Stavroupoli. Although we did not see many birds the easy hike along the ridge of the gorge was really fantastic with superb views on the river and the surrounding cliffs. The only new birds were two Blue Rock Thrushes. We walked the trail for about 4 km and turned back to the car. From there we took a turnoff into the mountains towards Stavroupoli with superb views over the Nestos Gorge. Here we saw amongst Griffon Vulture and Short-toed Eagle. After driving this steep road for about 10 km we turned and went back to the main road. On our way to Keramoti we paid a short visit to the Nestos Visitor Center. In Keramoti we checked in at the very nice hotel called Xastero located right in the center near the harbour.

 

8 September

After breakfast we drove to Hrisoupoli where we took a turnoff towards the Nestos river. We drove along the river for about 15 km stopping at several places to watch for birds. The activity was quite low and the only new birds observed were Common Sandpiper, Common Cuckoo and Great Spotted Woodpecker. We were back at the hotel at 2:00 PM and relaxed a bit on the terrace of our hotel. At the end of the afternoon we made a walk along the harbour watching the Greek fishing on the pier. In the evening we had our last Greek meal at the hotel’s terrace. After a few ouzo’s we went to bed at midnight.

 

9 September

This is our last day of our holiday. After a relaxed breakfast we packed our luggage and left for the airport which was only a ten minutes drive. We returned our rental car and checked in for our flight home at 1:00 PM.