Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Birdwatching in Western Greece: Top 5 Reasons to visit Messolonghi in winter

The lagoon complex of Messolonghi in western Greece is one of the most important wetlands of Greece; it is a Ramsar site, a National Park and a Special Protection Area. Every season has many things to offer to birdwatchers, no matter their skill or experience.

Here's a list of the Top 5 birds that are found in Messolonghi in the winter.

5) Greater Flamingo

Messolonghi is, perhaps, the only place in Greece that you don't even need to leave the town to see Greater Flamingos right next to you, as groups of them can be seen at close range while driving the coast avenue of Messolonghi!

4) Slender-billed Gull 

Winter is the best period to see large numbers of this beautiful gull as it is very widespread and common. You can get very close views (and photos) and Messolonghi is the best practice field to see the differences between this and the Black-headed Gull.

3) Pygmy Cormorant 

A rather recent arrival at the area, the Pygmy Cormorant has become very common in just a few years; over 100 birds can be seen close to the town of Messolonghi, easily identified by their smaller size - compared to Great Cormorants -, the rather long tail and the dark brown plumage.

2) Dalmatian Pelican

1) Greater Sand Plover

Messolonghi has the privilege of hosting one or more Greater Sand Plover every winter. It is not very easy to find it as it blends in with the hundreds of Kentish Plovers but the constant birder will eventually find it.

There are, of course, many more reasons to visit Messolonghi: Spoonbills, Avocets, herons, waders, terns and gulls, waterfowl, raptors and lots of passerines will make a birding trip to Messolonghi a very memorable experience! Its proximity to Athens (less than 2.5 hours' drive) makes it ideal even for daily excursions.

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