Over 270 species of birds
Gialova Lagoon, just a short walk away along the beach from Zoe Resort, is a brackish water coastal wetland.
During the 50’s attempts were made to drain it, as was the general policy at the time for all wetlands, but thanks to the abundance of underground water the plans failed. Perfect example of the mistakes of the recent past, its size was reduced by 1/3 and its ecosystem damaged by canals, ditches and roads. These interventions altered the natural course of the rivers and reduced its productivity. Nature, however, resists and the Gialova Lagoon remains today a rich ecosystem that gives refuge to a high variety of inhabitants. Among these there are over 270 species of birds, which include many rare species. Ospreys, Imperial Eagles, Marsh Harriers, Great White Egrets, Bitterns, Purple Herons, Glossy Ibises, terns, many ducks and waders and a multitude of passerines visit the wetland during migration and/or winter. Other species breed during the summer.
This abundance of birds makes the Gialova Lagoon the most important wetland at the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula. See here more photos of the Gialova Lagoon and its wildlife.
Ecosystems of the Gialova Lagoon
A wetland is an ecosystem made up by a complex of smaller habitats, each characterized by water, soil and salt interaction, resulting in differentiated plant communities. A remarkable variety of strongly interdependent organisms develop, from invertebrates to fishes and a variety of birds, many of wich are rare and endangered today.
The main lagoon is mostly inundated by the sea. Thus salt resistant animal and plant life prevail and are preyed upon by certain species of fish and birds. It is a feeding place for ducks, coots, cormorants, ferns, herons, ospreys and flamingoes.
The marsh and the reedbed
Freshwater flows into the marsh from the river Tiphiomitis. Freshwater species (or partly so, such as eel) find refuge in this habitat. The reedbeds are a crucial breeding and feeding place for neonate fish. Many species of birds nest in the reeds (such as the Little Bittern) as the reedbeds are undisturbed by humans and inaccessible to most predators. The marsh is also a favourite foraging ground for Glossy Ibises, grebes, Marsh Harriers and Black-winged Stilts which breed on the islets among the reeds’ clearings.