NESTOS DELTA

The Nestos Delta covers a total area of approximately 55,000 ha and is located along the southern boundary between the regional units of Kavala and Xanthi. Because of its size and the variety of its biotopes, they are considered among the most important wetlands of Greece and Europe. The Nestos Delta was formed by the accumulation of fluvial sediments carried downstream by the river to its estuary, while its creation resulted from the combined actions of the river and the sea waves and currents. It has been included in the List of Internationally Important Wetlands, of the Ramsar Convention, it forms part of the Natura 2000 network, and is one of the European Union’s Special Bird Sanctuaries. The wetlands complex of the Delta comprises seven small lakes to the northeast of Chrysoupoli, as well as eight lagoons. The most distinctive lagoons are those of Vassova, Erateino, Agiasma, Keramoti, Monastiraki, Magana, and Erasmio.

Furthermore, an area of 450 ha, is covered by the “Great Forest” (Kotza Orman), of huge environmental importance. This is one of the largest natural riparian forest in Greece while its existence does not depend solely on rainwater, but mainly on the waters of rivers and lakes. Flora: A veritable mosaic of plant societies unfolds in the Delta area, including dunes, tidal vegetation, reed beds, salt cedar scrublands, sea rush meadows and aquatic vegetation. Fauna: 21 fish species live in the waters of Nestos River, 6 of which are endemic to the wider region, such as the Spined Loach and the Belica. Another 36 species are found in the lagoons and the river’s estuary.

In terms of birdlife, 277 different species have been observed nesting, overwintering or simply passing through the area. Of these, the Black-Winged Stilt, the Eurasian Oystercatcher, the Great Egret, the Little Bittern, the Eurasian Spoonbill, as well as the Pygmy Cormorant, the Ferruginous Duck, the Greater White-Fronted Goose, the Black Stork, and the Bearded Reedling stand out. Rare and endangered birds of prey can also be found here, like the Sea Eagle (also called the White-Tailed Eagle), the Lesser Spotted Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Great Spotted Eagle. The Nestos Delta is one of few places in Europe where the Spur-Winged Lapwing can be observed. This is also the habitat of a wild population of common pheasants unique in Greece. More than 20 mammal species live in the wider area of the Nestos Delta, and some of them are quite important, like the European Otter and the Golden Jackal – here lives the largest population of this species in Greece. Finally, 11 amphibian species and 22 reptile species can also be found here.

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