Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Record number of Common Cranes in Athens!

Last Sunday, December 9th, a large flock of more than 110 Common Cranes (Grus grus) was seen flying over Schinias National Park. The first birds were seen in the morning but it wasn't till late noon that the bulk of the flock passed overhead the amazed birdwatchers. Few minutes later, another birder recorded 172! Common Cranes flying above the Athens International Airport. This is the biggest count ever recorded near Athens, a result of both higher numbers of the species in Europe and increased birdwatching activity. Common Cranes have become quite regular but scarce winter visitors in Northern and Western Greece, especially in Lake Kerkini and Messolongi Lagoons. The species is much more rare in the south with just a few records of usually 1-2 (juvenile) birds.

Wintering Cranes have become a quite regular sight in some areas, like Messolongi Lagoon (like this small group photographed in December, 2007)

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