Steen has visited Lake Kerkini with NaturesLens on several occasions prior to this visit; although those visits were all during the winter. During that colder season, the birds of Lake Kerkini are composed mainly of flamingos, cormorants & of course, the characterful Dalmatian Pelicans. When we announced our new photography holiday for 2019 to focus on the Spring Birds of Lake Kerkini, Steen signed up & along with the other guests, waited for the months to pass, knowing that the spring visit would be very different to that in Winter!
One thing was for sure, the bulk of our photography would be conducted from dawn to mid-morning & then again late-afternoon to early-evening. The rest of the time, the light would be too harsh to even contemplate anything in earnest. With so many beautiful birds on offer, we headed out to the lake, to the area which contained a submerged forest. This is the area that the birds of Lake Kerkini make a home within during the Spring & build nests to bring their new generation of young up in.
The first pair of images above, show Squacco Herons. These are found throughout the wetlands, but mainly on areas of floating logs or pads in the water. This meant that we spent considerable time just playing with reflections or trying to get them in interesting poses. The contrast of their plumage to the deep greens of the foliage & blues of the lake waters meant that they really popped out! Lake Kerkini in Spring is home to many different types of Heron, including the Squacco Herons, Grey Herons & Night herons plus we observed & photographed Spoonbills & Storks, various kinds of egret & of course White & Dalmatian Pelicans. The Dalmatian Pelicans are not nearly as numerous in number as during the winter season, nor are they as impressive looking.
Whilst the outskirts of the submerged forest is the habitat of the Herons, the deeper we ventured into the ‘drowned forest' at the north end of the lake, the more we found a cacophonic environment which is actually a spectacular breeding colony of pygmy cormorants, all the herons, at least three types of Egret, Little Bittern & Glossy Ibis. Each of our 4-hour boat trips onto the lake allowed us to get superb close-ups of these stunning birds.
As we drifted through their habitat, the majority of the birds remained unconcerned by our presence & carried on as though we were not there. Females with hatched young attended to their feeding, many paired birds continued to build nests, other solitary birds posed on branches, cormorants dived for fish & then dried their wings in the sun whilst posing on floating logs.
We were lucky enough to hear about a pair of Penduline Tits that had been building a hanging nest in an area adjacent to the lake. We visited this several times during the week, & each time the progress of the little family was measurable, with the adults firstly building nests & later in the week the male bringing the female food.
New life was to be spotted all over the lake & the surrounding areas, every day this was a constantly changing landscape of freshly hatched young clamouring for their parents' attention & food.
Towards the latter part of our stay, we ventured out onto the lake earlier than normal, so that we were in position in the middle of the lake prior to sunrise. Each morning we were joined by several pelicans, which of course, lead to some stunning silhouette images of the birds that Lake Kerkini is most famous for against the mountains with the whole scene illuminated in rich amber & golden tones.
PHOTOGRAPH THE SPRING BIRDS OF LAKE KERKINI YOURSELF
To photograph the Spring Birds of Kerkini yourself, join Robin, in Greece during June 2020 for a trip lasting five nights. This photography holiday is ideal for photographing a wide variety of migrant & resident birds, including bittern, black stork, cattle egret, cormorant, dalmatian pelican, great crested grebe, great white egret, grey heron, night heron, squacco heron, white pelican, white stork & more!
The photography holiday is offered on a full board, non-shared basis. Group size for this photography holiday is a minimum of 3 participants & a maximum of 7, plus Robin. Until mid-September 2019, there is a special offer reducing the price to £1599 available.
All the details of the Spring Birds of Lake Kerkini photography holiday are available on the dedicated event page.