Winter at Lake Kerkini (Part 1)

Last month I visited Lake Kerkini twice. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side. Heavy clouds covered the sun almost all days and in some cases it was raining all day long. Nevertheless Kerkini always finds a way to reward you for each visit there. Most Nature Photographers visit Lake Kerkini because of the rare Dalmatian Pelicans. Late January they have already changed to their impressive breeding plumage and they can be easily spotted at many locations around the lake. However if you have been at Kerkini many times and you have a good knowledge of the area, you tend to ignore them and focus to the many other very interesting bird species found there at all seasons. More than 300 bird species have been spotted in the area with dozens of rare or endangered species among them. In addition there are many mammal and amphibian species to be found with some more effort and (of course) luck. My first winter visit this year was at the first days of January. Even though I spotted many interesting species I didn't get many good quality pictures. The weather was bad and in one case it was raining all day long. I even managed to see a nice group of Lesser White-fronted Geese in a mixed flock with White-fronted Geese although from a distance. There are only about 100 Lesser White-fronted Geese in existence and most of them are wintering to Lake Kerkini and Evros River Delta. Other interesting observations (Pelicans excluded) include 26 Common Cranes, Imperial, Golden, White Tailed and (at least 5) Spotted Eagles, Pygmy Cormorants, Smews, Goosanders, and most other wildfowl species that can be spotted in Europe this time of year plus a Great Black-backed Gull. This gull species has only a few times been spotted in Greece. Although the above photo is certainly not the best photo of this gull species, I am glad that I have something to remind me of this brief encounter.

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