|ne of the most important water grounds of Greece, as well as the rest of Europe, is situated at the County of Evros.
It is the Delta of Evros. River Evros, in combination with the action of the sea, contribute to the forming of the Delta. A result of these actions is the creation of small holms, lagoons, bogs, sandpiles and a variety of other small biotopes which form a dynamically developing ecosystem.
|part from being a place where hundreds of species of animals and birds (to which we will refer later) seek refugee, the ecological value of the Delta of Evros is large, as it provides water for drinking and irrigation, works as a cleansing filter for polluted water, stops the salty water of the sea from invading the land, influences positively the climate of the area and offers ideal conditions for the right development of cattle-breeding and pisciculture.
hen it comes to flora, all typical formations and the permanent units of vegetation of a Mediterranean Delta can be found.
|he northeast section of the delta, known as flooding zone, is covered by bushy copses with marram grass, while along the river a dense forest is formed, with poplars, willows, slivers, elm trees and creepers. This fabulous forest gives shelter to glossy ibis and spoonbills which come by during the emigration, to cranes and raptors which use the delta to find food and to a few wild animals which have remained at the delta, such as the fox and the jackal. When weather conditions are extremely harsh, wolves and wild boars cross the river looking for their prey.|
|escending southerly to the sea, the forest hands its place to thick and impervious reeds, close to the Nymfes lake and other fresh water lakes such as Tsekouri, Skepi, Spitia, Gynaika. Across the shores and the little islands, where the main regulator is the sea, sandy vegetation grows, while salty water invades the land, forming salty moors with halophytes, important biotopes for many species of birds.|
| n the brackish waters of the lagoons Drana, Laki, Paloukia, rich hydrophile vegetation grows, food for ducks, swans and other aquatic birds. In those waters, troops of emigrating fish come to grow and return to the sea.
he great value, however, of the area consists in the rich fauna and fowl fauna as more than 46 species of fish, 7 species of amphibians, 21 species of reptiles and over 40 species of mammals have been found. The birds of course, consist the team with the most representatives, as 304 out of 423 species of Greek birds have been observed here.
|lthough the populations of the birds which at other times nested here has been dramatically decreased, birds continue to nest in Delta, such as : Cormorant (phalacrocorax carbo), small heronn (Ixobychus minutus), purple heron (Ardea purpurea), brown goose (Tadorna ferruginea), canvasback (Aythya nyroca), water-pigeon (Glareola pratincola), "agathokalimana" (Hoplopterus spinosus), harrier (Circus aeruginosus).
here are also important colonies of terns, such as : "geloglarono" (Gelochelidon nilotica), arctic tern (Sterna sandvicensis), river tern (Sterna hirundo), dwarf tern (Sterna albifrons).
Besides, the Delta is used as a place for finding food for many species of rare raptors which nest a little further northwards the water ground, in the forest of Dadia and the surrounding hills of Loutro, Avanda, Aisymi. These raptors include : Peregrine (Falco peregrinus), short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), "king" eagle (Aquila heliaca), Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), lesser spoted eagle (Aquila pomarina) and black vulture (Aegypius monachus).
|he Delta of Evros remains one of the most important Mediterranean water grounds, regarding the wintering of great populations of ducks, geese and other aquatic birds. These populations fluctuate between 30.000-150.000 individuals.
The most main species of these are : Widgeon (Anas penelope), Earwig (Anas acuta), Teal (Anas crecca), Gadwall (Anas strepera), Gaganey (Anas platyrhynchos), Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra), White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus), Snowy Egret (Egretta alda).
| uring the spring and autumn emigration, many species of birds stop at the Delta to rest or to find food, birds such as : Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Dalmatian Pelican (P. crispus), Flamingos, Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), Spoonbill (Platalea Leucorodia), Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinelus), cranes, cherry pickers, lots of aquatic birds, terns and pigeons.
Because of its favorable geographical position, among Europe, Asia and Africa, the Delta is the site of apparition of many birds which usually cannot be seen in the European area or are very rare in the rest of Europe, like : dwarf goose (Anser erythropus), red goose (Branta ruficollis), "thin-nosed" (Numenious tenuirostris) and others.
|n many cases, the uncalculated human utilization, either by the form of draining and irrigation works for agriculture, or by the continuous increase of the number of animals which graze at the area, or finally by the developing fishery which has been noticed, has harmed the Delta area and contributed to the decrease of great areas of the biotope, resulting to the serious disorder to the remaining biotope.|
appily, nowadays, with the sensitization of the residents and visitors, with the mobilization of expert scientists, apposite services and ecological organizations, the negative activities at Delta tend to cease existing. An administrative program of Delta has been planned, with the contribution of local mediums, ecological organizations and the State, which has started giving fruits. The water ground of Evros with its rare landscape and the great biodiversity, is an adornment and cultural inheritance for us all.