Kerkini lake: double reflections

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A primer site for birdlovers, By Dimitris

Pictures by Dimitris Rados and Marianina Rakka

Once upon a time there was a land of marshlands, surrounded by long snowy ridges and tall mountain peaks. The land was fertile and a few villages were built in the area, supported by Strymonas, the river that gave life to the wetlands. Unfortunately, Strymonas, being a bless and a curse, would occasionally flood, destroying crops, villages and livelihoods. In the 1920s, refugees due to the Balkan wars and the catastrophe of Asia Minor arrived and shettled in the area, around the small local villages. As always, disasters never come one by one and the inhabitants had to face another difficulty, as a malaria epidemic stroke the area and insisted for many years. Because of the numerous problems reported in the area, in 1928, the greek government decided to rearrange the vast wetlands, drying numerous marshes, reconstructing Strymona’s banks and creating a water deposit, known as Kerkini lake.

Today, lake Kerkini is one of the most important stops along the flyway of several migratory birds, hosting around 300 bird species, many of which are severely threatened with extinction, along with a great diversity of amphibians, reptiles, mammals and a rich vegetation ranging from riparian vegetation to pine and oak forests. The site is protected by the Ramsar International Convention and EEC european directive for the protection of wildlife. A premier stop for nature lovers and travellers, this is how we captured it during a half-day trip, with two cameras and two pair of eyes.

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