Easternmost Greek Macedonia and Greek Thrace

Dadhia Forest

mule-trainSince 1980 a large portion of the Evros Hills area, northeast of Alexandhroupoli, and very close to the Turkish border at Soufli, has been given protection as a major bird site.

The Dadhia Forest forms the core of the protected area of 1800 acres (7290 hectares) with a buffer zone of 69,000 acres that has very little protection. The area is mostly heavily forested with oaks and pines, though there are some low summits and crags and some grassland and scrubland, with some grazing, and some agricultural land here and there.

vulture egyptianAn exceptional number of birds of prey of the diurnal type have been documented in the area (36 out of 38 recorded in Europe), as well as seven species of owls; and it is the only forest in Europe where all four types of vultures are found. Of these, the black vulture, extremely rare, and very much on the decline, has increased in numbers due to the establishment of feeding stations, with carcasses set out for them.

heronsIn addition to the birds of prey, many other birds are found here, as well as 36 species of mammal (though there may be more), 40 species of reptiles and amphibians, as well as many butterflies and beetles. Flora found here is that which is adapted to igneous rock.

Autumn is a good time to visit, especially in November, for the colors of the foliage, for fungi, and for vulture. Next to Dadhia village is a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Hostel, where one can stay, and which also offers minibus trips to a post for viewing the raptors (though one can walk the 3 km easily as well); there are driveable and walkable roads through the forests.

The hidden observation spots are 600 meters (1968 feet) from the feeding stations, so you won't see much without binoculars or a telescope. Areas to the north, near the Bulgarian border, are also well worth visiting. These include the Eritropotamos Valley, particulary near Metaxadhes and Polia, the Ardas River Valley, and the Evros Valley near Dikea, this last with at least three kinds of herons in great numbers.