Small Wetlands

mikroi ygrotopoi

Kalloni Bay Wetland

The coastal Wetlands of Kalloni Bay are one of the most important ecologic assets of Lesvos. The coastal areas around the Bay constitute a unified ecosystem, as this area is a mosaic of salt marshes, estuaries of small rivers and streams, reeds, pine forests and olive groves. So these wetlands give natural shelter and a breeding place for many rare and endangered bird species.

More specifically, the wetlands include the whole coastal area of the Bay and a great number of land wetlands: the salt marshes of Kalloni and Polichnitos, the torrents Tsiknias, Vouvaris, Mylopotamos, Ennea Kamares, Potmia, Lagoon of Messon, the marsh of Skala Kalloni, of Parakoila, of Nyfida , etc. The Bay has joined the National & European Catalog of “Special Areas of Nature Preservation” by Natura Net 2000.

The area gives shelter to 252 bird species, 87 of which are protected species and are included in Ex. I of Directive 79/409 / EEC and in other European and international conventions, binding the country (Red Book, Bern Convention, Bonn Convention). But what is most important is that 101 species of birds nest there, a number particularly notable, while 66 species are emigrational.

The last few years bird watching in this wetland attracts a lot of people, visitors, scientists, nature lovers, etc.. Species like ruddy shelduks, avocets, black-headed buntings, white and black storks, glossy ibis, pink flamigos, shags, little Egrets, Gray Herons, swans ect. are encountered in the region. The best season for this activity is in spring and autumn.

It is an activity of several people, which is expected to increase significantly in the near future with the infrastructure that has been installed and with the implementation of relevant programmes (Bird observatories, establishment of Environmental Information Center, etc). This area is particularly interesting because it is overgrown with pine trees, olive trees, reeds, a wide variety of rare species of flora such as orchids and native plants. All these along with the facilities of Salinas offer abundant food and natural shelters for all living organizations, contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, while beyond the ecological and economic significance there is also an aesthetic significance for Lesvos.

Ntipi Larsos Wetland

Ntipi Larsos Wetland has a great ecological importance for the area of Evergetoula, along with the river Evergetoulas, which is the largest reed bed in the Aegean.

The stagnant water surface of the Ntipi Larsos swamp is nearly covered by lush vegetation of reeds. There are also other waterplants, with Phragmites, the common reed, presented as the only form of substantially grown flora. Rare species grow on free surfaces and in seasonal or permanent ponds. The biggest part of the coastal zone in the Gulf of Gera is covered by vegetation grown along the sea, which is favored by the decay of plant residues (mainly algae).

The estuary of the Ntipi Larsos Wetland hosts a large number of plants, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects and the hard to find European otter (Lutra lutra). Some of these species are characterized by their rarity. The waters of the tributaries of the sources create areas of natural beauty, enabling the region to join the National & European Catalog of “Special Areas of Nature Preservation” by Natura Net 2000.

Vatera - Polichnitos Wetland

One of the most beautiful areas of Lesvos is Polychnitos, a special wetland, at the southeastern side of Kalloni Bay. Over 100 bird species have been recorded in the area, some of which are migratory and others not.

For biologists and amateur observers this is a living museum of natural history. The observation is possible throughout the year, but especially in the spring when there is a greater attendance of birds.

Species such as herons, cormorants, flamingos, glossy Ibises, curlews, white storks, moorhens, are some of the birds that can be seen. But the terrestrial habitats of Polichnitos are important parts of the region.

Reptiles, amphibians and especially mammals find a shelter there. Turtles, foxes, lizards, bats, etc. fill this natural landscape. The most beautiful mammal of the island stands out among the vertebrates. This is the Asiatic squirrel “Sciurus Anomalus” (not common), found only on Lesvos.

There is an interesting wetland with various species of birds and animals in Vatera at the mouths of rivers Almyropotamos and Vourkos.

Except for wildlife, flora is also outstanding in the area of Polichnitos. The wider area is characterized mainly by extensive olive groves and by the occasional presence of a small area of scrub, composed of Kermes oaks, lentisks, turpentine trees (Pistacia terebinthus), oaks and large areas of Turkish pines (Pinus brutia). At the mouth of Almyropotamos, which constitutes a small wetland, there is lush vegetation of reeds, mainly of Phragmites, the common reed (Phragmites australis) and cattails (Typha spp). Upstream of the estuary there is hydrophilic vegetation, consisting of Nerium oleander, salt cedars (Tamarix spp.) and other plants that compose this magical landscape.

In the area of Vatera one meets the sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum), which is a very rare and beautiful white wild flower that grows in September on the beach of Vatera. Similarly, the sea lavender (Limonium sinuatum), which is a low plant with blue – lilac flowers, fills the beach of Vatera during spring.

The Red tulip (Tulipa boeotica) grows in spring in a pine-covered area just outside the village Vrisa, while in the school district in Vrisa one can find the orchid (Ophrys lutea).

Eresos - West Lesvos Small Wetlands

The scattered small wetlands of western Lesvos attract migratory waders and waterfowls during spring, when they retain water. At that time any small water surface can offer food and rest to the exhausted migratory birds. The variety and heterogeneity of terrestrial habitats is equally important, as they can meet at least temporarily the ecological needs of migratory species.

Most natural wetlands of the region, as in Lapsana, in Faneromeni, in Faros Limena, River Tsichliotas, the Chrousos estuaries, Elafi, Artificial Lake of Pythari Monastery, the Bulgari – Omviokastro estuaries, Skala Eresos, etc., are very small in size and they are often dried early enough so they can accommodate large numbers of birds or support many couples during breeding period. Generally speaking, in this sense each one of these small wetlands cannot be considered important. Their ecological value is that all together they create a network of valuable feeding and resting stations for the birds and this is why it is imperative to protect all the small wetlands of the region. The presence of important species of amphibians and reptiles also requires the protection of fresh water of the quite poor vegetation on western Lesvos.

In Skala Eressos, at the mouth of the Chalantara or Psaropotamos torrent there is a wetland with turtles and a wide variety of rare bird species, ideal for simple observation or scientific study throughout the year.