West estuary of Loudias – Almiravlakas
- Distance: 16 km.
- Time on vehicle: 55 min.
Few people know about this route as it runs along unpaved roads through the rice fields, but it is a great place for birdwatching, especially in the coastal part of river Loudias estuary and along the drainage channel that leads back to the national road.
In the estuary of the River Loudias
It is easy to reach the estuary of the Loudias, an asphalt road takes you there from the junction at Klidi on the highway. Many amateur fishermen set out from here to fish for bass, sole or mullet. Pause to check out the mussel farmer’s huts on the opposite side of the river, and keep an eye out for Dalmatian pelicans which often feed here. Flamingos, mallards and pygmy cormorants are very common here in winter time. Be sure not to miss the mussel farms with the poles and the nets full of mussels hanging on them in the sea. Gulls and cormorants like to rest here too.
A route that is known to local people starts here. Following the unpaved road and looking to the right you are almost certain to see shellducks, which are found in the wetland area between the road and the cultivated area throughout the year. Until the 1970s this area was a shallow lagoon with fish farms, but it was drained for agricultural use.
The sea on your left is usually full of curlews in winter time, as well as flamingos, which patiently look for their food plunging their heads into the water. In late spring you will probably see little oystercatchers, with the characteristic orange beak. Please don`t get out of your car, as this will panic the parent birds, who are used to thinking of people as enemies.
On the way back
At the end of the coastal road you will seea channel with brackish water the locals call “Almyraulakas” (salty channel). Continue towards the national road, keeping focused on the wide drainage channel on your left, a lovely wide waterway with lots of “winged” surprises: swans, flamingos, ducks and grebes in the open spaces, little egrets, squaccos, and purple herons behind the reeds. This channel is also important for fish, since it’s the only one in the area which connects directly with the sea and so the water is salty.
- Although the coastal zone is beautiful, unfortunately large quantities of plastic and other detritus get washed up on the shores. Find out about the cleanup campaigns organized by the Management Authority and come to join!