The famously known nature of Zagori is part of the Northern Pindos National Park which hosts a large variety of bird species. The shifting habitats of the area, such as the alpine meadows, the gorges, the oak and coniferous forests, are one of the main reasons that allow us to observe at least 140 different bird species throughout the year. Are you ready to equip yourselves with a pair of binoculars and a fieldscope and join us in our search for the Golden Eagle on the mountaintop of Tymphe? Are you ready to wander between the forests and seek out the sounds and movements of passerines, such as the Blue Tit or the Subalpine Warbler? Whether you are new to birdwatching or more experienced, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the stunning bird life of the area by choosing amongst our proposed routes.
Route 1 : From Aristi to Agios Minas
We shut the hotel door behind us and our journey begins. Our destination is the neighbouring village of Agios Minas. The path is 1.5 km long and it crosses through a shifting mosaic of oak forests and open grasslands. As we hike our way towards the village, we observe forest species, such as the Nuthatch, the Short-toed Treecreeper, the Blue Tit and the Middle Spotted Woodpecker. Upon our arrival at Agios Minas, we set up our fieldscope between the meadows and the traditional stone alleys of the village in order to observe Cirl Buntings, Red-rumped Swallows, Nightingales and Subalpine warblers. We follow the same path on our way back to the hotel, where we make a list of the species we observed and those we managed to photograph. The total duration of the tour is 3.5 hours. It is an easy route ideal for beginners in birdwatching as well as for children due to the small height deviation and its short distance.
Maximum number of participants: 8
Route 2: Birdwatching from Vikos to the springs of river Voidomatis
If you wish to admire some of the most typical Mediterranean birds of rocky habitats, this route is the perfect choice. We begin our tour at the traditional settlement of Vikos. Here we make our first stop at the observatory which overlooks the entrance of the impressive gorge. Our equipment will help us spot and observe some of the gorge’s raptors, such as the Peregrine Falcon, the Short-toed Eagle and the Buzzard. We leave the observatory and start descending towards the path that crosses the gorge. Our hike gives us the opportunity to spot some woodland species, like the Marsh Tit, the Long-tailed Tit, the Firecrest as well as some impressive birds that prefer more rocky areas, such as the Rock Nuthatch, the Rock Bunting or the Crag Martin. The most intriguing part of our journey is spotting the very challenging-to-observe Wallcreeper. We hike for a kilometer and we reach our destination, the springs of river Voidomatis. This is an ideal place to take a break right next to the blue coloured of the river and try to spot the White-throated Dipper feeding along the river shore. We follow the same path on our way back, this time going uphill towards the village of Vikos and making short stops for birdwatching. The duration of the tour is 4 hours. The difficulty level is moderate due to some slight slopes.
Maximum number of participants: 8
Route 3: Bird-hike from Mikro Papigo to the Astraka Refuge
This tour combines both hiking and birdwatching in the alpine meadows of Tymphe, one of the most famous mountains in Greece and abroad. It is an ideal route for those who want to observe up to 60 different bird species. Our starting point is the village of Mikro Papigo where we pick up the path that leads us to the mountain hut of Astraka. We make our first steps underneath the shade of the woods. Marsh Tits, Short-toed Treecreepers, Middle or Lesser Woodpeckers hide amongst the foliage of the dominant trees (mostly oaks). The path through the forest takes us up to an altitude of about 1300 meters where the scenery changes completely. The dense forest is replaced by alpine meadows which stand beneath the imposing cliffs of Tymphe. This new habitat gives us the opportunity to observe the impressive Short-toed Eagle, hundreds of Yellow-billed Choughs, Nothern Wheatears and Wood Larks. As we search for new mountainous species, the trail leads us to our final destination, the refuge of Astraka that stands at an altitude of 1950 meters. Here, we find species such as the Golden Eagle, the Alpine Accentor, the Horned Lark or the Ortolan Bunting, that only the daring can see. We make a stop, amongst the indulging alpine landscape of Astraka, in order to refuel with a snack and allow our eyes to be filled with the atmosphere of this unique scenery. We make our way back to the village of Mikro Papigo and to the hotel. The route lasts for 7 hours and its difficulty level is easy. There are two requirements for this route: an appetite for a long hike and an appetite for lots of birdwatching!
Maximum number of participants: 8
Route 4: Zagori '' Bird Safari '' on four wheels
Are you interested in observing the majority of birds that hide beneath the mysterious forests and geological formations of Zagori? Then all you have to do is join us on this 4x4 wheel driving tour. We set off from the hotel and head over to the village of Vikos where we search the canyon and its steep cliffs for species such as the Rock Bunting, the Rock Nuthatch, the Crag martin, the Short-toed Eagle. We hop back in our car and head off to the mountainous valley of Soudena. The valley, set at 800 meters above sea level, is filled with crops and is surrounded by mountains. This habitat is Ideal for observing Red-backed Shrikes, Woodchat Shrikes, Subalpine Warblers and Stonechats. Crossing throughout the plains, our next destination is the dense oak forests of central Zagori that lay between the villages of Negades and Fragades. These forests are the natural habitat of the Black Woodpecker, the Green Woodpecker, the Crested Tit. Right there, under the dense foliage of the forest, we make a short stop for a snack while listening to bird sounds and identifying them. Now we are ready to head off to the alpine meadows of mountain Tymphe, right above the village of Tsepelovo. New species await us here…The Rock Partridge is probably the most characteristic one in addition to the Nothern Wheatear, the Black-eared Wheatear, the Wood Lark. Filled with new experiences we make our way back to the hotel. During this trip, you will have the opportunity to observe the majority of birds in the area and, most importantly, you will be able to admire the diversity of habitats that spread across the unique land of Zagori. The tour lasts for 7 hours and it is most suitable for those who want to get to know the impressive world of birds in an easy and less tiring way.
Maximum number of participants: 4