Birds of Zagori
Birds of Zagori
The bird fauna of Zagori area is particularly rich. As far as it concerns birds of prey, the most important species in the Golden eagle (Aguila chrysaetos), the Booted eagle (Hieraetus pennatus), the Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) and the falcons Peregrine falcon (Falco pereginus) and Lanner (Falco biarmicus).
In the forest, it is worth mentioning the Willow tit (Poecile montanus) and several woodpeckers (such as Dryocopus martius, Picus viridis and Dendrocopos syriaca).
In the alpine meadows one might observe typical birds of the alpine zone, as the Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria), the Horned lark (Eremophilla alpestris) and the White-winged snowfinch (Montifrigilla nivalis).
Birdwatching in Vikos gorge
In the wooded Vikos gorge, direct observation is not the easiest thing, but with the help of our hearing we can spot Eurasian Nuthatches (Sitta europaea), Firecrests (Regulus regulus), Short-toed Treecreepers (Certhia familiaris). Nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) are more often heard in the smaller gullies as we descend from Monodendri village, while Middle Spotted and Green Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos medius, Picus viridis) are potential sightings in the riparian tree thickets. On the bed of Vikos and as we approach Voidomatis springs, only a little patience and concentration is needed to observe the bulky White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus).
Birdwatching along Beloi hike
The short hike from Vradeto to Beloi, with the spectacular view towards Vikos, can easily give us sightings of Rock Buntings (Emberiza cia) and Cirl Buntings (Emberiza cirlus), standing atop of the scattered wild fruit trees and singing. On the branches of the large trees we will spot Coal Tits (Periparus ater), Sombre Tits (Poecile lugubris), but also Marsh Tits (Poecile montanus), while of particular interest are the observations of Redstarts (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), which breed in this – of sparser cover – contact zone between forests and meadows. In this open area with the intense presence of passerines, several raptors also seek their prey, with frequent appearances of Short-toed Eagles (Circaetus gallicus), Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus) and Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus).
Birdwatching around Astraka
Finally, the area around Astraka refuge is a great challenge alone for birdwatchrers. The rarely seen and persistent inhabitant of the higher elevations Snowfinch (Montifringilla nivalis) has permanent presence here, sometimes also approaching the surroundings of the refuge to look for food remnants, something that Alpine Choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus) do in much less discreet way. Common in the subalpine meadows are the Black Redstarts (Phoenicurus ochruros), the Northern Wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe), the Tawny Pipits (Anthus campestris). The vast cliffs and rock faces of Astraka are the ideal habitat for the silent Wallcreepers (Tichodroma muraria), spotting, however, its impressive bold-red plumage requires apart from time, patience and very strong binoculars also luck. A more possible sighting in the same zone is the imposing figure of a Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).
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