The Kerkini Lake is located in the northern part of Greece, close to the border with Bulgaria, and belongs to a large protected area, mainly formed by wetlands. One of the iconic wildlife is the water buffalo but mainly the avifauna is awesome. The lake is covered by the Ramsar Convention and is listed as an important bird area and Special Protection area.
More than 300 species of birds have been sighted, with more than 140 settle the lake home and another 170 coming here to reproduce or stopping over on migratory routes to the rest of Europe. Endangered species that breed here include the Dalmatian Pelican and pygmy cormorant.
This artificially created freshwater lake is surrounded by two beautiful mountains, Mount Kerkini and Mavrovouni, providing nesting grounds for the eagles, falcons and owls that forage in the area.
It is especially renowned as one of the European’s most important wintering bird sites and rightly for the threatened Dalmatian Pelican. Lake Kerkini is a paradise on land for bird photographers. Usually a flock of pelicans slides to a halt on the glassy surface of the water, coming so close that we do not need prior experience or sophisticated telephoto lenses to take fabulous pictures.
At first you are interested simply in getting the shot and getting up close. As you acquire experience you want to pull back to give the bird space to move freely. You must not put pressure to get beautiful images, when your target animal continues doing what it would do if you weren’t there.
Bird watching requires time and it is connected with travel and making friends; that’s why the majority of birdwatchers are very passionate.
The Kerkini Lake’s history is a case study in how sustainable development can shift mind-sets. We’ll meet hunters who packed away their guns and became protectors of the birds and volunteers arrived from all over Greece to work here through environmentally friendly projects, such as creating artificial platforms to help the pelicans reproduce.
ins and outs
We will board a plava (a type of flat-bottomed boat) from the harbour and cross the lake in order to allows for beautiful close up views of Dalmatian Pelican. Especially in the winter they are both more photogenic in their breeding plumage, and also show greater tolerance of people than later in the spring, when they are raising their young. Many birdwatchers conceal themselves in hides on the banks while it is still dark so that at first light the birds are unaware of their presence.
You don’t have to be a professional or semi-professional, but you must love nature and you will enjoy not only to see the bears but also the visit in the Krizna jama cave and the search for wild orchid
Classic trip. 4 days, 3 nights :
Four nights in a family-run hotel, in double room.
All inclusive (no drinks), light-packet lunch, snacks and soft-beverages at the lake.
Rent a boat with skipper expert in approaching and attracting pelicans : two sessions each day lasting about an hour at each time.
Guide to coordinate activities .
Shared transfers daily . Fish-bait to attract the pelicans . Hideout on the ground .
Return transfer from Sofia Airport to the guesthouse.
Is this trip right for you ?
Nature photography of birds has one thing in common to all : undoubtedly it takes a lot of patience.
First then : awareness. What result do you want to get? You wish to freeze the image or to have a control of the movemen-ts, with the body still and the wings slightly flying to make the idea of the movement? Or, do you want to test your skill with the panning ?
Photographing waterfowl offers yet more stimuli, expanding the opportunities to obtain parti-cular compositions .