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patra to cape araxosCape Araxos Ramsar Site

Perhaps the best wetland in the Peloponnese, this cape is southwest of Patras, and has been protected partly by church ownership of a large portion of it. From the cape down the coast about 50 km (31 miles) to Kotichi Lake and inland in places to the main road, this area consists of sand dunes, sandy beaches, brackish lagoons, grassland, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, limestone hills, and pine and oak woodland.

allepo pineIt is a Ramsar Site, and is designated also as a Special Protection area, but it seemed in great need of better protection (as least a few years ago), as do many such sites in Greece. The Strofilia Forest in this area, south of Kalogria, consists of umbrella pines (strofilies the Greek word for these trees), as well as Aleppo pines (right) and Valonia oaks, with some open areas.

reed bedsThere are reedbeds in some of the freshwater marshes. Breeding birds include little bitterns, white storks, collared praticoles, among others; hoopoes, stone curlews, marsh harriers, both little and big-crested grebes, are all found here, as well as many passage birds, including some birds of prey. Many reptiles and amphibians have been recorded here; loggerhead turtles use the beach between Kalogria and Lake Kotichi for breeding, which is one of their very few mainland breeding sites. Once again, protection of the site is inadequate, and though many nests were recorded here some years ago, their decline is likely.

wetlandsMost common mammals found here are beech martens and eastern hedgehogs, with hares less common; otters and golden jackals may still be present. Plants include several varieties of orchids in the pine woods and limestone hills; the sand dunes have a lovely sea daffodil, sea holly, among other plants, with yet other flora in the scrub and open woodland area. Insects do well in with so many habitats; there are many dragonflies and damselflies in early summer, and various ants, wasps, bees, and various spiders. Many roads give access to the area off of the main Patra-Pyrgos road.