09 May 2010

An unforgettable 'Dalmatian' experience

This morning, after following a group of bottlenose dolphins for about an hour and a half we encountered a large group of Dalmatian pelicans Pelecanus crispus. In total, we estimated 24 individuals. Slowly approaching them with our research boat they allowed us to observe them from just a few meters away.

Dalmatian pelicans are large and elegant waterbirds which wingspan can easily reach about 3 m. In the past they were widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia. During the last century, however, their population dropped drastically and occurrence in Europe is now limited. The species is classified as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.

The islets in the lagoons Tsoukalio and Logarou in the northern Amvrakikos Gulf is one of the few European sites where they are regularly nesting.

Today we enjoyed the largest congregation of these magnificent animals registered since we started working in the Gulf, i.e. since 2001. Watching their majestic wings spreading right in front of us for takeoff left us all wide-eyed and speechless. Unforgettable!

Joan Gonzalvo

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