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Porto Lagos and the Thracian Lakes
Lake Vistonis is a vast shallow lake on the coast of north-eastern Greece and the area around Porto Lagos to the south is one of the best birding spots in mainland Greece.
This village lies on a narrow sandy neck of land between the lake and the sea. Habitats in the area include freshwater lakes, saltpans and coastal lagoons which may dry out in summer, reedbeds, saltmarsh, scrub and small patches of woodland.
Although there are some exciting breeding birds the main interest lies in migrants and winter visitors and a wide range occurs on a regular basis including some species very scarce in Europe. See www.birdwing.eu for recent information about birds here and related links.
 Notable Species
Little Bittern, White Stork, Gadwall and Ferruginous Duck breed here as well as Pied Avocet, Stone-curlew, Kentish Plover and Collared Pratincole. Spur-winged Plover was once a breeder in some numbers but is now becoming rare. In addition there are colonies of Mediterranean Gull and Little Tern.
Glossy Ibis and Dalmatian Pelican are among the regular passage birds and a variety of waders occurs often including Broad-billed Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper and Terek Sandpiper and, just possibly, Slender-billed Curlew. Greater Flamingo was once merely a passage or winter visitor but can now be seen throughout the year.
Short-toed Eagle and Lesser Kestrel pass through the area in small numbers as well as a few Eastern Imperial Eagle and Bonelli's Eagle. Yelkouan Shearwater is common offshore in autumn and winter and both Slender-billed Gull and Audouin's Gull occur on passage.
In winter thousands of Black-necked Grebe, Pygmy Cormorant and Greater Flamingo are present with smaller numbers of Dalmatian Pelican, White-headed Duck, Great White Egret and geese including Lesser White-fronted Goose and Red-breasted Goose.
An excellent range of species can be seen in this area at all times of year but the most productive times are passage periods. Slender-billed Curlew has been recorded most often in September but also in August and in spring.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cory's Shearwater, Yelkouan Shearwater, Great Cormorant, Pygmy Cormorant, Dalmatian Pelican, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Mute Swan, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose, Red-breasted Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Ferruginous Duck, White-headed Duck, White-tailed Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Greater Spotted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Osprey, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Northern Hobby, Common Quail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Stone-curlew, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, Spur-winged Plover, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Whimbrel, Slender-billed Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, White-winged Tern, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Syrian Woodpecker, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Black-headed Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Thrush Nightingale, Common Nightingale, Rufous Scrub Robin, Zitting Cisticola, Eurasian River Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Collared Flycatcher, Penduline Tit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Common Magpie, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting
 Other Wildlife
 Site Information
 History and Use
 Areas of Interest
There are saltworks and two lagoons worth visiting about 5km west of Porto Lagos, the one to the north of the road, marked by a water tower, has Spur-winged Plover and the lagoon to the south has wintering Greater Flamingo.
Between the town and the sea and along the spit to the east of the town are pines worth exploring for passerine migrants and there is a channel connecting the lake and the sea which may produce good birds.
Heading east towards Komotini and then south to Fanari the road passes further lagoons where Dalmatian Pelican and Greater Flamingo occur on passage and in winter. Close to Fanari is the Xirolimni Lagoon where Great White Egret, Ruddy Shelduck and Ferruginous Duck are possible.
Further east still is the reed-fringed Lake Mitrikou, also known as Ismarida), to the south of Pagouria and signposted from there, where Black Tern and Whiskered Tern and Eurasian Spoonbill breed. Ferruginous Duck and Ruddy Shelduck are also regular as well as various herons, and Dalmatian Pelican in winter. To reach this lake head south from the village of Pagouria towards Molivoti Beach.
 Access and Facilities
Porto Lagos forms an excellent base from which to explore the area and can be reached on the N2 (E90) road from Xanthi. One spot that should not be missed is the "Flamingo Taverna" to the east of Porto Lagos where a huge range of interesting birds can be watched while eating lunch. There are campsites and basic accommodation available here and in the nearby town of Fanari.
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