Cretan Adventures hiking in Crete Greece


bird-watching in Crete

Admire the natural beauty and the birds of Crete

bird watcing in creteThe variety of the birds in Crete is incredible! It includes plenty (and among them some rare and endangered) resident bird species and also the migrants that stop over Crete island during their migration to/from Africa and Europe. The diversity of habitats and Crete’s environmental richness for bird-life, have as a result an impressive species list and some surprises, especially during spring and autumn migrations.

Apart of the geomorphology of the island with its natural shelters, there is some progress for reservation of the wildlife through the establishment of national parks that attract many rare species! Crete Island belongs to the Greece’s most protected area by having 7 out of 10 natural protected parks on the mountains. Bird-watching on Crete will take you into some of its most beautiful, isolated and unpopulated areas, particularly when you are looking for raptors such as eagles, vultures and falcons.

Bird Species are varied with residents like Griffon Vultures, Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Buzzard, Kestrel, Cetti`s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Rock Thrush, Fan-tailed Warbler (Zitting Cisticola). Stonechat and Crested Lark and Italian Sparrow are also quite common.

At the highlands of the plateaus and gorges one can admire Cirl Bunting, Alpine & Red-billed Chough, Woodlark and Black-eared Wheatear. Winter visitors arrive from November to end of March and Kingfisher, Bluethroat, Starling, Robin and Black Redstart over winter. Spring migration begins in late March to May and Pied, Collared and Semi-collared Flycatchers, Wood Warbler, Northern Wheatear, Golden Oriole, Grey and Purple Heron, Night Heron, Little Egret, and Little Bittern, Little Crake and Bee-eaters pass through. Autumn migration begins in late August through October when Whitethroat, Red-backed Shrike, Garganey, Mallard pass through. Eleanora`s Falcon are nesting and Harriers and smaller Eagles follow the east coast south to Africa.


Our daily excursions in nature of Crete!!!

bird watcing in crete

1. Faneromeni Lake - Kataliki

Enjoy a superb walk at the Faneromenis Lake in the area of Messara which is a wetland of great interest. The place attracts migratory species from Africa to Europe and vice-versa, which use them as resting places during their migration as well as other local birds. We shall continue to the area of Kataliki in the southern coast of Crete to see other birds that live in wetland!
In our excursion we can include visit to the small natural history museum of Gergeri and the Minoan Palace of Festos.


2. Natural History Museum of Crete – Archanes – Mt. Giouchtas

In the morning we shall be able to visit the natural history museum of Crete in Heraklion.
Natural History Museum of Crete has been functioning and operates under the framework of the University of Crete since 1980, being a pioneer institute at national and European level in the following activities:

  • Study and Management of the Natural Environment of Crete
  • Public awareness, education and sensitisation of local people as well as the visitors of the area

We shall continue to the very well preserved and restored village of Archanes, from where we shall hike up on the rocky mountain of Giouchtas, which is said to be the “sleeping profile of Zeus”. A rocky mountain covered with phrygana, maquis and olive-groves and in west side very steep slopes where we may meet Species with an unfavourable conservation status in Europe, as well as threatened species. Giouchtas is nominated from 1982 as a biotope of importance at European level and since 1989 included in the international ornithological biotope catalogue.


bird watcing in crete

3. Kounavi Gorge and winery

Starting from Peza village we will walk on a country road that will lead us to the entrance of Kounavi gorge. By following an easy walk of roughly 2 hours, we will discover certain devastated watermills, the rich vegetation that includes a lot of species of different trees (i.e. planes, cypresses, oleanders, etc) as well as a lot of aromatic plants and bushes. There we will meet many species of little birds as well as endemic species.
At the end of our walk we shall be able to visit one of the best-equipped, state of the art wineries in Europe. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the cellar, the production area, and the rest of the estate and they can enjoy the impressive multimedia show which has gained major awards at international competitions.


4. Mount Karfi – Lassithi Plateau

Lassithi plateau is an important region for bird watching. Starting from the village of Tzermiado we shall pass through the small and beautiful “Nissimos” valley to reach the sacred summit of Karfi, which offers a Minoan settlement and panoramic- breathtaking view to the north coast, and the mountains of Selena and Dikti. There you will have the opportunity to see some spectacular birds of prey as well as species like harrier eagle, the vulture, the grosbeak-eagle, the redbreast robin and the golden eagle. From the summit we shall descend back to Tzermiado from a different path by following the ridge and further down the old rocky-build mule path – Kalterimi.  
We shall be able to continue to experience a small journey through mythology by visiting Dictaion Andro, the cave where Zeus was born.



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