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Prespa Lakes

The area is famous for its two lakes separated by a narrow causeway. Lake Mikri Prespa is smaller, shallower and reed-fringed and is the main focus of attention for aquatic birds. The borders of three countries join inside the larger Lake Megali Prespa – Greece, Albania and FYROM. The lakes themselves and the area surrounding them offer a wonderfully rich diversity of habitats, from deep water, shallows, reedbeds, wet meadows, farmland, forests, hills and mountains.

The range of birdlife reflects this diversity. Much work has been done in recent years by the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) to improve habitats for a range of wildlife. A recent LIFE grant allowed the SPP to restore some 60 hectares of wet meadows which immediately resulted in Glossy Ibis breeding in 2005, the first time for 35 years. Their Centre, on the road into Agios Germanos, is well worth a visit.

Prespa is most famous for its breeding pelicans. Nesting in the reedbeds of the smaller lake, Mikri Prespa, are over 1600 pairs of pelicans, constituting not only one of the very few sites in Europe where both species nest together but also the largest colony of Dalmatian Pelicans in the world.

Egret numbers are also rising, with 80 pairs of Great Whites in 2009, alongside 80 pairs of Littles. The lakes hold around 750 pairs of Pygmy Cormorants and 70 pairs of Night Herons. Ferruginous Duck also breed here. Lake Megali Prespa holds a special bird, the Goosander, as this is the most southerly breeding population of this species in Europe.

There are other riches, too. Open scrubby areas hold Barred Warblers, Red-backed, Lesser Grey and Woodchat Shrikes, sandy areas have Tawny Pipit and Short-toed Lark, the reeds and reed fringes have Savi’s and Marsh Warblers, Little Bittern and passage crakes and plenty of Bearded Tits.

The fields and margins hold Quail and Black-headed Buntings, the woods are home to several species of woodpeckers, including Black and Middle Spotted, both treecreepers, Subalpine and Eastern Bonelli’s Warblers, Sombre and Marsh Tits and a small population of Hazel Grouse.
Above the tree-line Ortolan Bunting, Rock Thrush, Golden and Short-toed Eagles can be found. Levant Sparrowhawk is frequent around the villages in summer.


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