By Dave Gosney; Easybirder.co.uk, 2015
87 min DVD and 44pp pbk booklet
ISBN 978-1-9073-164-94 (DVD) and 978-1-9073-164-87 (booklet)
The region of northern Greece, running from the border with Albania in the west to Turkey in the east, spans almost 400 km. It is a popular holiday destination and while most tourists head to beach resorts on the Halkidiki Peninsula, there are many other places for birders to visit.
This whole area is packed with birds, and with around 200 species breeding it is no surprise that Dave Gosney filmed over 100 species on a recent three-week trip. As with all of Dave’s videos, this one offers an overview of the area and concentrates on 18 locations to visit. Top of the list for most birders is the Evros Delta in the east, which includes the fabulous Anthia marshes. Moving slightly inland, the Dadia Forest supports good numbers of raptors including 20 pairs of Lesser Spotted Eagles Aquila pomarina. Not far away there is a stake-out at the Avas Gorge where you can see Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus and Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum with ease. Moving west there are the wetlands at Thimaria Marsh, Lake Ismarida, Porto Lagos and Mandria Beach. Another top-rated site is the Nestos Delta, where Spur-winged Lapwings Vanellus spinosus are present at their most westerly point in Europe. Drier habitats featured are the Nestos Gorge, Mount Pangeo, Mount Vrontou and Mount Belles. Other wetland sites visited include the famous Lake Kerkini, the deltas at Axios, Loudios and Gallikos, and the lesser-known lagoons at Kalohori, Kitros, Angelohori and Epanomi.
As always the footage is good, supported by a helpful commentary. Other species featured include Rock Partridge Alectoris graeca, Eurasian Black Vulture Aegypius monachus, Lesser 4Kestrel Falco naumanni, Red-footed Falcon F. vespertinus, Sombre Tit Poecile lugubris, Eastern Orphean Sylvia crassirostris, ‘Eastern Subalpine’ S. cantillans albistriata and Barred Warblers S. nisoria and Rock Thrush Monticola saxatalis.
The booklet that accompanies the DVD can be bought separately. It features all of these sites and is full of maps, GPS references for specific species, plus tips for getting the best results. Currently there are return flights to Thessaloniki from the UK for as little as £80 for May, so this destination really deserves more attention from UK birders.