GREECE – BULGARIA 2014 – 2020

Reinforcing Protected Areas Capacity through an Innovative Methodology for Sustainability
(Reg. No: 1890)

Go to Rila National Park

21 fish species live in the waters of Nestos River, 6 of which are endemic to the wider region, such as the Spined Loach and the Belica. Another 36 species are found in the lagoons and the river’s estuary. In terms of birdlife, 277 different species have been observed nesting, overwintering or simply passing through the area. Of these, the Black-Winged Stilt, the Eurasian Oystercatcher, the Great Egret, the Little Bittern, the Eurasian Spoonbill, as well as the Pygmy Cormorant, the Ferruginous Duck, the Greater White-Fronted Goose, the Black Stork and the Bearded Reedling stand out. Rare and endangered birds of prey can also be found here, like the Sea Eagle (also called the White-Tailed Eagle), the Lesser Spotted Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle and the Great Spotted Eagle. The Nestos Delta is one of few places in Europe where the Spur-Winged Lapwing can be observed. This is also the habitat of the unique wild population of common pheasants unique in Europe. More than 20 mammal species live in the wider area of the Nestos Delta, and some of them are quite important, like the European Otter and the Golden Jackal – here lives the largest population of this species in Greece. Finally, 11 amphibian species and 22 reptile species can also be found here.

Twenty-one fish species currently live in Lake Vistonida, among which 2 endemic species, the river bleak (Alburnus vistonica) and the Thracian Shad (Alosa vistonica). Sixty-one fish species have been recorded in the wider aquatic ecosystem of Porto Lagos and Vistonida, apart from the euryhaline fish of the lagoons, certain sea species enter through cannals connecting it with the sea. The region is also famed for its diverse birdlife: 264 bird species have been recorded, 141 of which nest here, like Swans, the Ferruginous Duck, the Common Shelduck, the Pied Avocet, the Black-Winged Stilt, the Eurasian Stone-Curlew, Mediterranean Gulls and Collared Pratincoles. A mixed colony of Little Egrets and Grey Herons in the Porto Lagos area is especially significant. The importance of the area as an overwintering place for bird species is paramount; in the winter, visitors can find here: Pelicans, Flamingos, Curlews, several species of ducks (including the White-Headed Duck), Calidrids, as well as Greater White - Fronted Geese. Large predators also inhabit the wider region of Lake Vistonida such as the whiteTailed Eagle, the Lesser Spotted Eagle, the Great Spotted Eagle, and the rare Osprey (during migration). The surrounding area of Vistonida is inhabited by 11 amphibian species, among which are the European Tree Frog and the Eastern Spadefoot, and 19 reptile species, such as the European Pond Turtle, the Balkan Pond Turtle, the Four-Lined Snake, and the European Green Lizard. Finally, more than 20 mammal species that inhabit the area, of which the European Otter, the Golden Jackal, the European Wildcat, and the Forest Dormouse are especially interesting.

Countless tiny creatures inhabit in the muddy sediments covering the bottom of the lagoons, such as gastropods, bivalves, annelids (ringed worms). These are an excellent source of food for waders (shorebirds), who seek their prey by sifting through the mud with their bills, like Flamingos and Spoonbills. Approximately 200 bird species have been recorded in Ismarida and the surrounding area; rare birds nest here, like the Ferruginous Duck, the Whiskered Tern, and the Black Tern. In general, all the wetlands of the area (Ismarida and its surrounding lagoons) are particularly important for several birds that arrive here from Northern Europe to overwinter, like swans, ducks, cormorants a.o. Rare or protected species like the Glossy Ibis, the Great White Pelican, the Dalmatian Pelican, the Great Egret, the Pygmy Cormorant, even the Lesser White-Fronted Goose and the White-Headed Duck can be observed here. The wider area is also the habitat of 45 species of mammals, of which the otter is perhaps the most important