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Lesvos a hit with birdwatchers

- by Joe Mason

The wetlands of Lesvos help make the island a favourite with birdwatchers who can combine their Greek island holiday with their favourite hobby. There are several important wetland areas in Lesvos but the Evergetoula area is probably of the greatest ecological significance.  The wetland is formed as the Evergetoulas River enters Dipi's marsh. The area is rich in fauna and many rare species can be found there. 

Small lakes and pools create an area of great natural beauty and the entire site is protected.

Perhaps the most impressive wetland areas of Lesvos is at Polychnitos, on the north-east side of Kallonis Bay. 

More than 100 species of birds have been recorded here and the place is a magnet for biologists and conservationists. 

Birds can be seen here all year round, but spring is the busiest time with the arrival of herons, flamingo, white stork, curlew and swans.

The land around Polichnitos is also a park with turtles, foxes, snakes and bats. The rare squirrel 'Sciurus Anomalus' is found only here.

The wetlands of Kallonis Gulf contains a mosaic of salt pans, streams and heavily reeded banks. 

The salt pans of Kallonis and Polichnitos; the rapids at Tsikneas, Vouvaris, Mylopotamos, Enea Kamares, Potamea; the Meson lagoon and marshes at Parakela and Nyphidas are all now protected areas.

A total 134 bird species have been spotted on the holiday island of Lesvos with 666 of them migratory. The best seasons for bird-watching are in spring and autumn. Birdwatching attracts many visitor and is expected to increase.

Species such as the stone curlew, avocet, black-headed bunting, white and black stork, pink flamigos, slag, little egret, grey heron, ruddy shelduk and bee-eater are relatively common.

At Eressos there is a wetland area which is a breeding ground for turtles and a great variety of rare species of birds for observation or scientific study all year round.