Wednesday, June 3, 2015

EcoFlow Seminar: Secret Valley near Marathon Attika

June 3rd 2015 ...somewhere near Marathon 40 Km from Athens

The first days of June were always my favorite in this part of Greece. Birds are still singing, the sun is a warm summer sun but the fields are still colourful, the waters still flowing in intermittent streams.

Some days are memorable, especially when you discover something. Today we visited a valley with a small spring-fed stream which apparently no-one knows - evidenced by the complete absence of trash. Not a single piece of trash. Let me spell it out for you: no sign of humans, natural, amazing etc.

Ok we had to hike a couple of Kms but no one walks....

The reason for all this was to demonstrate fish sampling technique and protocol for the Ecoflow seminar with univeristy students.... and under the tutelage of our esteemed colleague, Francisco Martinez-Capel.

Now the discovery: We found fish! Ok this was not exactly a surprise because a good friend and local school teacher from Rafina, Antonis Lazaris, had seen the fish in this valley. So I was prepared.

But was I prepared to find a fish I could not identify?

Looking at the pics and superficially drawing conclusions: the fish look like native Telestes...a riffle dace! (Most probably the Beotian Riffle Dace - an Endangered species!!! found only in two river basins just north of Attika). It is the first ever Telestes we have ever found in Attika. Tomorrow the biological material we gathered is going to HCMR Lab. Good feeling this. All in a beautiful day; a good day's work. And in Paradise.
Thanks God.

Descending into what can be described like nothing else but Paradise. A natural riparian corridor leafy and wooded, barely touched by the recent fire.
Outodoor classroom. 
I live in a city of 5 million people and no one knows about this. Good.
Woodchat shrike, Nightengale, Cirl bunting, Cetti's warble singing. Monumental Oriental Planes. Sedge thickets, tropical-like vines and Oleanders. 
Horse-tail glade (Equisetum) in very tall Oleander (4 m high!) under Oriental Plane. And underneath a cold spring-fed stream.
The water is totally drinkable. Cool. 
Wow! What the F*ck!!! Its not Pelasgus....Well what is it?
Please give them a gentle touch. If you love fish you will give them clove oil before you sacrifice them for science. (I want to go that way too...).
Our discovery: Its a Telestes sp. Drunk on clove oil, but still alive. Then Formalin solution and a piece of clipped fin in Ethanol. 
You would NOT believe the number of dragonflies and damselflies out today. We also found two amphibians, and Potamon crabs. 
We sampled two sites for fish in a standardized way; this is the lowermost sites. More reedy and warmer than the cool-water spring-fed upstream part.


  1. Please let this place alone. Don't you understand that it is perhaps the last unexploited landscape in Attica? Don't provoke the apettite of the trspassers!!!!

  2. Dearest Theodore, because it was unknown it is also not included within a protected area (i.e. Natura 2000 site); so we must first create a conservation management plan. This need work. We are not interested in advertising it. The same goes for other threatened landscapes; there are still quite a few left....