title>Ecotravel & Ecotourism in Greece: Macedonia: Evros Delta

Easternmost Greek Macedonia and Greek Thrace

Evros Delta

Map Evros DeltaThis outstanding Greek wetland is the delta of the Evros River, which forms the border between Greece and Turkey (and between Western and Eastern Thrace), and is the largest river in the Balkans.

Its delta covers 188 square km, of which 110 sq km are in Greece. A protected area of about 24,700 acres, or 10,000 hectares is comprised of huge partly natural habitats, and at least an equivalent area seen as ecologically significant has not yet gained protection.

Habitats in both include salt marshes, salt pans, sand dunes, freshwater wetlands and meadows, tamarisks beds, lagoons, and riverine forests with poplars, ash, willows, and plane trees. The delta is known for its birds, with over 300 species recorded, 77 of these known to breed here, and it is also a major place of passage (of migration, that is) for great numbers of birds, and, being for the most part free of frost, attracts many who overwinter in the area. The only time of year that there isn't a lot to see here is in late summer and early autumn.

The spring passage is outstanding, with, for example, more than 5000 white storks documented regularly at that time. Many birds breed here in early summer, including some species rare in Europe. In winter, January to March is seen as the best time for both numbers and diversity of species. There are also huge numbers of ducks and waders. Also recorded here are 40 species of mammals, 21 reptiles, 7 amphibians, 46 fish ducksspecies, a wide variety of insects, and 350 flowers.

Though the Evros delta has lost much in the past two or three decades, it is actually in a state of recovery. The excellent information center for the area (EU funded) is found off of the E5 road (up the Loutros road) and is a good place to visit first for information or to hire a guide if desired. You can walk or drive along the circular dirt road that leads in from the Loutros bridge and which passes through most of the habitats, and there are side tracks as well.

Angelohori and Epanomi Lagoons and Saltpan

These are on a peninsula south of Thessaloniki along the Thermaikos Gulf (also called Gulf of Thessaloniki) and have rich bird life. The Angelohori lagoon and saltpans are just west of the town of the same name, with birds in early summer but more in autumn. One of the rarer birds visiting the lagoon in that season is the slender-billed curlew. To the south are two lagoons near Epanomi, the better one on the tip of a small peninsula to the west of the eponymous beach, and some more birds in scrub areas nearby.