Sunday, April 26, 2015

10th Annual Athens Bird Race

Totally trashed and infilled wetland at Vourkari Megaron: Restoration plan needed here fast!

10th Annual Athens Bird Race 25th April 2015

Our team the "Sainia" (Levant Sparrowhawks...also meaning "smarties") did really poorly during this year's birdrace.

We planned to tour "all the wetlands of Attika" - striking two birds with one stone: birdracing and monitoring wetland conditions...or sort of!

We started with Vourkari Megaron - a truley magical place with its shallow lagoon-like bay near Megara. It was beautiful, serene.

Then we speeded up to the Assopos River Delta with its lovely open lagoon at Skala Oropos.

We crossed down to Marathon Lake for a veiew from the Dam. And on to Schinias.

Schinias-Marathon National Park was mesmerising. Particularly the landscape. Open - not overly build-up for the most part - wild-feeling, flowery, bridy...

Then we had a minor accident. Our rented Nissan X-Trail jeep drove off the track and tipped into the marsh. So we were stranded for 3 hours, missing the finish-line, disqualified from the race. At least we were all safe and had a great laugh at our near-submerged jeep.

We saw a total of only 52 bird species. Best birds were a Flamingo and Common shelduck at Vourkari, Great Egret, Ibis and many waders at Schinias, Whimbrel and other waders at Oropos Lagoon. I really enjoyed views of the lagoon-like waters of Vourkari, the many egrets, the Little Terns and Kentish Plovers at Oropos. The song of a nightingale at Marathon. And just sitting and waiting for our rescue at Schinias, in peace and frog-song.

Our team consisted of my good friends Aris Vidalis and Vassilis Hatzirvassanis and Natalia - a student working with us at HCMR.

See other Bird Race situations from past events, here:

Vourkai Megaron

Fish-rich waters - and totally clear - at Vourkari.

Vassilis at Vourkari.
Inland lagoon-like conditions at Vourkari. Many areas in-filled, lots of potential for restoration.
Natalia, Aris, Vassilis at Oropos Lagoon.
Vassilis notes every birds at Oropos Lagoon.
Watching the Little Terns. Oropos Lagoon. 

Beach at Oropos Lagoon with Evvoikos Gulf and Evia Island beyond. 

Lower reaches of the Assopos River.
Mid-lower reaches of Assopos. One of the most polluted rivers in Greece. A disgrace. 
Lake Marathon.
Inoi Gorge downstream of the Dam of Lake Marathon.
Waders at upper part of Schinias near Kato Souli.
Schinias near Kato Souli.
Schinias near Kato Souli.
Allium cf. roseum. Schinias near Kato Souli.

Serapias orchids. Schinias near Kato Souli.

Water. Schinias.
Accident! And a shame...we should have walked this slippery narrow track....
Rescue finished!

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