thumb|thumb|right|Aerophotograph from the Evros Delta in 1946

The Evros Delta National Park is formed in the estuary of river Evros and is one of the most important wetlands in Europe. Waters and sentiments that come with the river, together with the sea waves, have and continue to form a complex delta with a wide range of habitats where a considerable variety of plants and animals live.

The wetland covers an area of 200 km2 of which 95 km2 (80 km2 of land and 15 km2 of water surface) are protected under the Ramsar Convention (1971) because of the significant species that host. Furthermore, part of the Delta is designated as a Special Protection Area and proposed as a Site of Community Importance in the Network Natura 2000 (according to EU Directives 79/409/EEC and 92/43/EEC, respectively).

HabitatsΕπεξεργασία

In Evros Delta 7 basic unities of biotopes can be distinguished. In each one of them a specific type of vegetation corresponds, depending on the interaction of various factors like the type of soil, the microclimate, the presence of fresh or salt water, etc. Starting from the north where the river is divided in two branches and ending to the sea, one can distinguish the following characteristic biotopes:

  • Riverine vegetation
  • Tamarisks
  • Wet meadows with Juncus
  • Submerged vegetation of salt or brackish waters
  • Lagoon and fresh water vegetation
  • Halophytic vegetation
  • Vegetation of sandy islets

FloraΕπεξεργασία

More than 300 plant species have been recorded in Evros Delta. In the banks of the river and of the small local torrents, trees like poplars, willows and slivers can be observed. In the canals one can admire the water lilies floating, in the meadows the irises and orchids, while in the coast and sandy islets plants with low demands in water like the giant Elymus and sea lilies can be observed. The most impressive, though is saltwort which in autumn takes a deep red color, covering the banks of lagoons and saltmarshes.

FaunaΕπεξεργασία

Evros Delta is famous for the numerous species of animals that it hosts. 40 species of mammals live in the wetland. Most common species are the fox, the badger, the weasel, the souslik, the wildcat, the wild boar and the otter. The amphibians and reptiles that live in the wetland number 28 species. Very often the terrapins are observed together with the water snakes, frogs and lizards. In the areas covered with water 46 species of fresh water fish live like the carp, the pike and the sheatfish and salt water like eel, bream, mullet, bass fish and sole.

ΟρνιθοπανίδαΕπεξεργασία

thumb|thumb|right|Flamingo Until today, more than 320 bird species have been recorded. The biodiversity, as well as the presence of rare species are characteristic of the Delta. The geographic position together with the vast areas of natural habitats contributes to its value for avifauna.

WinteringΕπεξεργασία

thumb|thumb|right|White and Dalmatian Pelicans Tens of thousands of waterbirds winter in Evros Delta.During this season thousands of ducks can be seen with most common the Teal, the Mallard, the Widgeon. Evros Delta is the best place in Greece to observe geese: the White-fronted Goose, the Red-breasted Goose, the Greylag Geese and a flock of Lesser White-fronted Geese which comprises almost all the natural breeding European population of the species. Evros Delta is the most important habitat in Greece for three species of European Swans (Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Bewick’s Swan). Raptors that are also observed are the Spotted Eagle, the Imperial Eagle, the White-tailed Eagle, the Buzzard, the Marsh Harrier and the Hen Harrier.

MigrationΕπεξεργασία

In spring, Evros Delta hosts large populations of birds which move from Africa to Europe. During this trip, they stop in the Delta to rest and feed in the rich and secure biotopes of the wetland and, most of them, continue for the breeding sites. This season the wetland hosts thousands of waders, such as Black-winged Stilts, plovers, stints, snipes, terns, swallows and many passerines. Other species that are observed during the spring migration is the White Stork, the Black Stork, the Dalmatian Pelican and the Ferruginous Duck, the Lesser Spotted Eagle and the Ruff. During the autumn migration many species of raptors and passerines move to the warmer countries through Evros Delta. At the same time White Pelicans and Storks are observed in large numbers.


BreedingΕπεξεργασία

thumb|thumb|right|Bee-eater There are only few species left in Evros Delta which still breed in the wetland as most of their suitable biotopes have shrunk. Already by the 1970’s, many important species of birds had stopped breeding and, since then, they are only observed during the migration or the summer. However, there are some important species which still breed in the Delta, such as the Cormorant, the Grey Heron, the Purple Heron, the Ruddy Shelduck, the Shelduck, the Mallard, the Short-toed Eagle, the White-tailed Eagle, the Marsh Harrier, the Oystercatcher, the Black-winged Stilt, the Avocet, the Spur-winged Plover, the Kingfisher, the Bee-eater, the Collared Pratincole and the Little Tern.

Evros Delta Visitor CenterΕπεξεργασία

thumb|thumb|left|Exhibition area in the Visitor Centre Evros Delta Visitor Centre in Traianoupolis opened in September 1997. Its aims are to promote the protection of nature in the Evros Delta, ecotourism and public awareness of the ecological values of Evros Delta.

The Visitor Centre operates daily including weekends so that the public can be informed about the Evros Delta or organize and plan educational visits and tours in the wetland. Guided tours are given with mini buses and boats.

Specifically, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the functions and values of wetlands, especially for the Evros Delta by the Visitor Centre ecotourism exhibition, the projections viewing and the available free printed material. Afterwards, guests can board the buses of Evros Delta Management Authority and tour the wetland. The tour includes bird watching with binoculars and telescopes as well as boating. Contact number +30 25510 61000.



Management Authority of Evros Delta National ParkΕπεξεργασία

Management Authority of Evros Delta National Park has been operating since 2003 with headquarters in the Visitor Center in Traianoupolis. The main role of the Management Authority is the administration and management of the National Park and consequently the coordination of all the actions and services that are involved in the wetland. Its activities include:

  • Ecotourism
  • Monitoring
  • Wandering
  • Environmental Education
  • Public awareness
  • Coordination of authorities and relevant bodies for the protection of the wetland
  • Promotion of the wetland


External linksΕπεξεργασία

ReferencesΕπεξεργασία