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North Central Greece

This area includes most of the huge plain of Thessaly on the southern end, where cotton, grains and tobacco are cultivated.

Predictably, the human activities that plague areas near large urban centers (draining for construction and agriculture, dumping, hunting, etc.) has hurt a lot of these areas and the rich wildlife that they supported, though a many remain such as Lakes Himadhitis and Zazaris.

Lakes Himadhitis and Zazaris

lake mapThese two lakes, though close to each other, are quite different, both both are impressively unspoilt. Zazaris is smaller, and some believe more beautiful, with mountains surrounding it. White storks feed here, and both white and Dalmatian pelicans feed or roost, and there are pygmy cormorants, great-crested grebes, along with other birds and amphibians.

The larger Lake Himadhitis is less sheltered but is considered more significant in ornithological terms, though without conservation protection.

greek finchesBirds are too numerous to name, but exceptional is the fact that both whiskered and black terns breed here (which is unusual activity for these birds in Greece), and the lake was one of the most important sites in Greece for the rare ferruginous duck, whose numbers have dropped in recent decades.

crocusOther breeding birds found in the hills near the lake (though the forest has been subject to steady depredation) are Levant sparrowhawks, lesser spotted eagles and possibly golden eagles and long legged buzzards (the latter two quite rare).

Winter brings quite a few other birds. Late April to mid-June is a good time to come, though there is much to see all year long. For access, there is a good road on the southeast side of the lake of the town of Kastoria.