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BirdWING (Birdwatching in Northern Greece) has been set up to raise awareness of birds in Greece and to raise money for the conservation and restoration of bird habitat in the region. Birdwing has supporters from all over the world.


Newsletter 27 - Summer 2019

This year has been a difficult one for us, following health issues and personal bereavement, resulting in our being unable to be in Greece during the spring. However, we are pleased to say that the outlook is good and treatments are over, so we will be able to throw ourselves back into Birdwing’s projects this autumn. We are delighted to say that, meanwhile, National Parks in Greece have undertaken successful projects, funded by Birdwing.  Thanks for your continued support in what has been a challenging time.  

Lake Kerkini Pelican platform

During the winter the Management Body of the National Park of Lake Kerkini used Birdwing funds to finance the construction of a new larger wooden platform with a nesting area of over 100 m2 for pelicans.  In early February as the last of the reeds were placed on it Dalmatian Pelicans had already adopted it and began breeding. Later in the season White Pelicans arrived and successful breeding of both species took place on the platform and islands there.

The fledged chicks continue to use the platform for roosting during these summer months.

Thanks for your donations that allowed this action to be funded.

 (Photos by Theodoros Naziridis)


 New anti-poison dog appeal

It is already 4 years since our last anti-poison dog appeal when you helped us raise over €6000!  Those funds were given to and managed by the Greek Birdlife partner (Hellenic Ornithological Society) and the Return of the Neophron project and they have now been used up.

In order to continue this valuable work, Birdwing is launching a new appeal.

(Photo: Tasos Bounas)

Anti-poison dogs, like Ioli and Kouki here, do a fantastic and invaluable job detecting poisoned baits in wild places in Greece. Their work prevents many deaths of endangered birds and animals in the hills and mountains, such as vultures, wolves and jackals. It is a dangerous job however, and keeping them fit and healthy is expensive. This is why we are again appealing for funds to help cover vet's bills, training, transport and food costs for these dogs.

We would like this valuable work to continue and so are launching a new campaign to raise funds. Please help us by making a donation and sharing our appeal to your friends.

Together we can ensure that these highly-trained dogs can continue to protect the special places in Greece and the many important species that call it their home.

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Your donation will: 

  • help to protect breeding raptors, such as the endangered Egyptian Vultures – of which only 5 breeding pairs now exist in Greece!
  • reduce the number of deaths of wild animals, including jackals, wolves and bears 
  • stop the contamination of natural places, including reducing the chances of poisoning of pets and other domestic animals 
  • increase the chances of poisoned carcasses and baits being disposed of before killing wildlife
  • keep Ioli and Kouki and their handlers fit and well


However small, your donation will help!

For more information go to

Watch a video here.Top

New Birdwing tern raft at Evros

Birdwing also funded the construction of a new tern raft at the Evros Delta this spring. The staff of the Management Body built and positioned the raft in Drana lagoon during April and within days of its completion pairs of Common Terns were already nesting.

(Photos by Evros Delta Management Body)


DUMA trip

For the second time Alexander Wirth guided a group with the German travel agency DUMA, specialised in ecotourism and botany, and the focus of this tour was the incredible biodiversity of Northern Greece.

The tour started in the forest of Dadia, where the group was warmly welcomed at the Forest Inn Hotel. On the first excursion, the group met a pair of Egyptian Vultures as well as Griffon Vultures. Happy with those observations, dozens of butterflies and plants were noted in the forest. Heading south, the group went to see Orchis punctulata – the only population of mainland Greece. Before leaving the east, the group enjoyed a beautiful walk at Anthia marshes, which actually hold a lot water, making observations of wading birds quite hard.

The tour headed west, where visits to Kalamokastro, Lake Mitrikou and Porto Lagos were on the agenda. Wonderful sights of Lesser Kestrel and Red-footed  Falcons as well as rare plants like the European bluestar were made by the group. The huge cultural interest of the group allowed a stop at the Sarakatsani houses and the monastery Agios Nikolaos at Porto Lagos, before heading to Keramoti.

In the Nestos area, the group was welcomed by the famous Spur-winged Plover in its familiar haunt by the football pitch. At the harbour of Keramoti, the group enjoyed outstanding ‘philoxenia’ and delicious Greek food. From here, excursions to the Nestos Gorge, where in the afternoon a huge flock of White Pelicans headed towards Lake Kerkini (and arrived there around eight in the evening as we were told) were made. In the Nestos Valley including Aladjagiola, the group looked especially for orchids and butterflies. In total more than 25 species of orchids and more than 60 species of butterflies were counted during 10 days.

From the Nestos Delta the group went to the top of Mount Falakro, were they met the botany group from Greenwings and exchanged some nice sightings. Mount Falakro is known for its rich flora including Drenovski’s Chess Flower, Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Saxifrage or Dog's-tooth-violet, which were all seen.

The trip ended also this year with a stay at Lake Kerkini. The group explored the surroundings verifying last year’s orchid records and came across some interesting reptiles and amphibians. When staying at Lake Kerkini a boat trip with Nikos (Itavros, Hotel Limeno) is a must and so the trip ended with a wonderful birding boat trip including adorable views of the news breeding platform funded by Birdwing.

Since Alex is a strong promoter of ecotourism in the Nestos area, he again arranged a small trip report in the Greek news to drive the locals attention towards the necessity of saving their environment and nature. To support the habitat management and birds, the DUMA group donated 500€ to Birdwing.

Link to Greek news:



Last month saw the launch of a new book by Julian Hoffman called ‘Irreplaceable’ that focuses on people defending our threatened wild places around the world. Julian, who lives in Prespa in Northern Greece with his wife Julia, has long been a supporter of Birdwing and includes a chapter about Egyptian Vultures and Dimitris Vavylis and Kouki one of the anti-poison dogs that Birdwing has funded, together with many other tales from Northern Greece.

The following link includes an excellent review of Julian’s book in the Guardian newspaper:

The book can be purchased at any independent bookshop or Waterstones, or online at various sellers, including Amazon.  Click here for more information:

See more at:



Other news

  • Wildlife tour company Greenwingsran a Macro photography tour to Kerkini this spring which was led by Matt Doogue, an award-winning photographer and keen conservationist. Matt, who also runs free school environmental education visits in Scotland took a group of keen photographers to Greece, staying at the Hotel Limneo in Chryssohorafa.

Greece is much more than beaches and sunshine. It holds some of the world’s most stunning wildlife and scenery and is particularly fascinating at the macro level. Matt helped the group with macro photography techniques and tips and took these amazing photos here.

For more on Matt’s Macro photography and his education visits in Scotland go to:

  • Greenwingsalso ran two other successful tours this spring. They were Birds of Northern Greece and Birds and butterflies of North Greece. Greenwings give a generous proportion of their profits to conservation work for every tour they run and we are grateful that they support Birdwing as part of this.

For news of next year’s trips, including their winter trip to Kerkini, please visit:

This photo from the birds and butterflies trip (taken by leader Jon Dunn) shows clients looking at an Eastern Festoon butterfly.

  • More Birdwing nest-boxes are being currently constructed for Kestrels, Rollers, Owls and smaller birds to be erected in locations around Northern Greece. This spring the proportion of Kestrel boxes used at the Evros Delta was over 90%, with records showing many chicks fledging. Again the Roller boxes were well used with several pairs of breeding Rollers recorded.
  • The British Birdfair, held over the weekend of 16th-18th August, has representatives from Northern Greece. Theodoros Naziridis, Kostas Papadopoulos and other familiar faces can be found at the Lake Kerkini stand in Marquee 1. Friends from Greenwings and Balkan Tracks can be found in Marquee 7 and Marquee 2 respectively.
  • Thanks to the management bodies of the National Parks for their collaboration in undertaking projects to help birds, including monitoring, maintaining and constructing rafts, platforms and nest-boxes. Thanks particularly to Theodoros Naziridis and the staff from Lake Kerkini and to Eleni Makrigianni and the staff from the Evros Delta. Thanks also to those who have contributed to this newsletter including Alex Wirth, Matt Doogue, Matt Berry and Theodoros Naziridis.

Please don’t forget to support our Anti-poison dogs appeal at

 If you have any queries contact us at or go to


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