Easternmost Greek Macedonia and Greek Thrace
Lake Kerkini or Cercine
Since Greek Macedonia is by far the largest of the major regions of modern Greece, stretching from Albania in the west to Greek Thrace on the east, and touching Greek Ipiros, Thessaly and the Aegean Sea along its southern boundaries, we will demarcate the area to the east of Thessaloniki as Easternmost Greek Macedonia, for our purposes here. Both this area and Greek Thrace, which it borders, have bounded by the Aegean Sea to the south and FYROM and Bulgaria to the north..
Lake Kerkini or Cercine
Mainly a bird site, and part of the network of Ramsar sites in Greece, this large lake is a sixty-year old reservoir, but seems more like a natural lake because of its setting in a broad valley which was actually the bed of a previous lake and later also a river oxbow.
The absence of a high dam also contributes to the natural appearance of the lake.
To the north are high hills along the border with Bulgaria, the Mt. Kerkini range, and hills also to the west., which also have many birds. As water levels drop, marshes and grassland provide ideal habitat for feeding birds. There is some grazing, but its seems harmonious with the environment. Many kinds of herons breed here, as well as little egrets, cormorants, pygmy cormorants, and other birds.
Black and whiskered terns nest in sheltered bays with white water lilies. Several kinds of eagles breed in the wooded mountains and hills in the area, as well as black kite and Levant sparrowhawk.
The entire area of interest covers over 10,000 hectares, or 24.700 acres. Bird-watching in winter can be wonderful, though one never knows what kind of weather one will get.
Large numbers of pygmy cormorants and Dalmatian pelicans (especially at the south end of the lake) can be seen during this season, the pelicans following the fishing boats, where they wait to be fed.
There is hope of the area becoming a good breeding season for the Dalmatian pelican, which is an endangered species with a very small world population. White pelicans are also seen here, though in smaller numbers.
There are also several kinds of grebes, great white egrets, and various kinds of ducks, including white-headed ones, and many waders. There is a good road to Lake Kerkini from Serres and driveable dirt roads along most of the lake perimeter.