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Macedonia | Kavala

Nestos Delta and Coastal Lagoons Ecology

Part of it is a Ramsar site (10,593 ha, not clearly defined borders yet), Special Protection Area (10,000 ha) and Specially Protected Mediterranean Area. Industrial development is prohibited. In two separate zones, hunting is prohibited (9,500 ha). Commercial fishery is controlled.

A large delta, turned almost completely to agricultural land, with a series of brackish coastal lagoons (Goubournou or Agiasmatos, Vasovas, Erateinou, Keramotis, Kokalas, Maganon, Monastirakioy and Haideftou) that are separated from sea with narrow sand bars. Only small patches remain from the once vast riverine forest. The same goes for other important habitats. The lagoons, saltflats, sand dunes and scrub are small and isolated. There is also a rocky islet, Thasopoula. The main human activities are agriculture, fishery and tourism, while there is a new airfield and a US military radio station by the lagoons. The intensification of agriculture, the constructions of new hydroelectric dams on the upper flow of the river, overgrazing and hunting have affected negatively the area. Due to extended irrigation works, the delta has lost much of its importance for birds.

Breeding species include the Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), the Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), the Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), the Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), the Levant Sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes), the Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina), the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), the Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), the Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus), the Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola), the Spur-winged Plover (Hoplopterus spinosus), the Little Tern (Sterna albifrons), the Roller (Coracias garrulus), the Calandra Lark (Melanocrypha calandra), the Rufous Bush Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes), the Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor), and the Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus).  Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii) is nesting on Thassopoula island.  A remarkable number of species can be seen during migration.  Wintering species include the Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis), the Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus), the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), the Great White Egret (Egretta alba), the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and the Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga).

Information thanks to "The Hellenic Ornithological Society"