open countryside and hills in Kavadarci, Macedonia

Lake Kerkini and North Macedonia - Balkan birds and spring wildlife

Breeding birds, butterflies, wild flowers and abundant wildlife in this little-known and unspoiled corner of the Balkans.

North Macedonia is a small country, the same size as Belgium, in the heart of the Balkans. Its varied landscapes and position at the crossroads of the Balkans combine with traditional rural life to create the right ingredients for abundant and diverse wildlife. Almost one third of the country is still covered with traditionally sheep grazed steppe. The landscapes themselves are reason enough to visit, but we will also enjoy any and everything that moves or blooms! The country boasts over 200 species of butterflies, a staggering diversity for a country of this size. A great range of birds are another obvious focus, with a particularly wide range of raptors as well as many south-eastern specialities while wild flowers and reptiles abound and promise plenty of Balkan endemics.

Nearby Lake Kerkini, in Northern Greece ranks among one of the finest wetlands in the Balkans. Although an artificial reservoir there are shallow waters in the north where a large temporarily flooded riverine forest attracts many herons, egrets, spoonbills and cormorants. Both European species of pelican occur in good numbers in spring. Dalmatians breed and White just stay using this fish-rich habitat. Impressive mountains rise to the north of the lake and their foots are covered by fantastic habitats good for passerines like shrikes, buntings, warblers and tits. Raptors breed all around Kerkini with best numbers in the Kroutsia Mountains to the west of the lake.

The fine mixture of habitats ensures that you will have a rewarding and easy going holiday: whichever direction we go there should be a new species for us to see.

Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.

two Spoonbills in a tree in Lake Kerkini
Caspian Whip Snake on a road, Macedonia
Lesser Spotted Fritillary on knapweed, Macedonia