Elatia Forest In June

Last month I visited Elatia forest at Drama prefecture. This forest is unique for Greece and in many cases it is the only place that you can find some species of flora and fauna. It is the south-est spot in Europe where you can find Nutcrackers and Capercaillies and the only place in Greece where you have a good chance of spotting Hazel Grouse, Tengmalm's Owl and Pygmy Owl among others. I spend 4 days there with two friends and fellow nature photographers and although the weather was not good (every day was raining and we even had hail a couple of times) our visit was quite successful. As soon as we arrived there we went to a place where we had some info that a Pygmy Owl was spotted last year. We heard the bird calling almost at the same spot that it was last year! What was even more amazing, was that when we finally found it, we heard a Tengmalm's Owl responding to the Pygmy Owl call! And it was midday! I suppose that heavy overcast is responsible for that behaviour. This meant that out visit was already successful before the end of the first day! It was not easy to locate the Tengmalm's Owl inside the forest but we did found it and we were rewarded with some nice photos of this hard to spot nocturnal bird. These are actually my first photos of this bird species. I have managed to hear his call some times in the past but I have never actualy seen it in the wild before. In a short night walk not far from our hotel, we also found a pair of Tawny Owls to complete our Owl observations for this visit. However we didn't get any photos of these, since it was already very dark. In the next days the weather prevented us to search for the Three-toed Woodpecker and we didn't find Capercaillies but we found Nutcrackers, Hazel Grouses, Marsh, Willow and Crested Tits, Bullfinches, Common Crossbills and many other forest bird species. In addition we did find Roe Deer in many spots inside the forest. We will try to visit the forest again in Autumn hoping that the weather will be better. Don't forget that by clicking on the pictures you can see them in a larger/sharper version with their Exif Data.

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