Monday, May 20, 2013

Sites: Lower Gallikos River near Thessaloniki (Northern Greece)

Mid May 2013

Last instalment of our HCMR road trip diaries. By now I know you are totally satiated with these rapid snapshot exhibits. Well....on our way south we stopped at a small river in an open landscape west of the village of Oraiokastor, close to the Macedonian city of Thessaloniki. Here we are 15 km from the rivers estuary. All photos that follow were taken within a short 20 minute water/diatom sampling stop. I took pictures, Elias and Tassos collected the samples in little bottles. The Gallikos, just east of the much grander Vardar (Axios in Greek), is in some way like a mini-Vardar. Open steppe-like plains, wetland fringes, islands in the river and many many birds! Shelduck (above), Pygmy Cormorants, waders, various herons (including a Great White Egret) - good stuff. The small empoundments at road-crossings on this tiny river are phenomenal wetlands - fringed with reed and pools full of fish. Beyond the riparian zone the grazed low prairie is rich in terrestrial life - beautiful in spring, full of insects and reptiles. This is very different to any landscape we have in southern Greece.

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