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NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Nestos river
Nestos is one of the five biggest rivers in Greece. The length of the river is 243 km, of which 130 km in Greece. It rises in the Rila Mountains in Bulgaria and flows into the Aegean Sea.
The Straits of the Nestos river have been classified as an “Aesthetic Forest” by the Greek State because of the rich flora and fauna, while an area of approx. 17,500 acres has been declared protected area.
The Nestos Delta is a protected wetland and extends over an area of approx. 140,000 acres, between Nea Karvali and Abdera. It is part of the area's National Park which also includes the lakes Vistonida and Ismarida. In the area lies the famous riparian Great Forest (Koca Orman) with rich vegetation and numerous animal species. Today, after deforestation in 1952, the forest extends over an area of approx. 1,200 acres while in the past it covered more than 32,000 acres.

 


 


Nestos’ river mouth. Thasopoula island on the left and Keramoti on the right.



Standing waters, riparian vegetation.Dense riparian aquatic vegetation constitutes a basis for the growth of higher organisms.


Fresh slow-moving and standing water, freshwater marshlands.
In the plain where the precipitate flow of rivers and streams subsides, wetlands are formed supplying the aquifer with fresh water.
Typical fresh water landscape. Nestos Delta.

The riparian and aquatic vegetation is rich in these fresh water areas. It often forms close thickets and small riparian and lakeside forests.


Keramoti
Keramoti is a seaside village of Nestos Municipality and lies opposite the island of Thasos. The area has the lowest elevation in Greece and some of the longer and wider beaches.
 



The port of Keramoti, the village and the beach-bars.


Sandy beaches
Sediment is being deposited by Nestos river and - in the past - its tributaries for thousands of years, creating a thick layer of sand which often extends inland for many meters and over the shallow areas along the coast.

 
Flora


Front zones. Sand Dunes - Farming.
The narrow strip of land which divides the sandy beaches and the arable land is very important for wildlife. Key elements of its biodiversity are the herbaceous plants, the bushes and the wild flowers.



Sand dunes at a small distance from the seashore
The sand dunes, diminishing ecosystems of great importance, were formed by winds, waves and sediment. The halophytic vegetation and the form of the sand dunes constitute a unique wildlife sanctuary.

 

Yellow hornpoppy (Glaucium flavum) is a summer flowering plant common in Thracian coast.



Ammophila plants. Sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum).
Sea daffodil is a typical plant for the area even though its population diminishes because of increasing tourism activities. It is a bulbous perennial plant which flowers in the beginning of summer.





Salt Cedar (Tamarix)



 
  Πανίδα


Fauna
 
The Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus) is the rarest bird in the area. Nestos river is the northernmost habitat of the species in Europe.





The Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) is found during summer in the low lands, the mountain meadows and the open grounds next to forests. It feeds on large insects and even on small birds. It vigorously defends its territory even from much bigger birds.



Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)




Little egret (Egretta garzetta). A permanent resident of the area, found in significant numbers. During summer that number increases because of migrant populations. The Little egret is a medium size heron (53-58cm) found in the coastal areas and all wetlands of Xanthi prefecture. They eat fish, large insects and amphibians; often found in groups in shallow waters. The little egrets nest in colonies, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs, and they breed four pale white eggs which are incubated by both adults for 21–25 days to hatching.



White Stork (Ciconia ciconia).
One of the most common species in Greece. White storks are social birds and mostly reside in wetlands and wet grassy areas in Northern Greece. 





Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus).
Often found along the seashore and saltwater marshes where he feeds with earthworms and cancroids, smashing them with his strong bill. His nest is a small hole in the sand, often among seashells.




Sandy beaches in the area. Nestos' Delta.
In the river's mouth opposite Thasos, the deposition of sediment and the sea waves keep altering the landscape year after year.



Golden jackal (Canis aureus).
Up to the 1960s golden jackals were found all over Xanthi's plain, even within the city's limits. Today, the biggest golden jackals population in Europe is found in the Nestos river area. Shy and difficult to observe, but their presence is evidenced by their tracks. During dusk when the animals gather for their night hunt, their howls are heard across the coastal area, from the Nestos Delta to Magana village.
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