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Corfu

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis ©Panos Oikonomoy Website

Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. Its northeastern coastline of lies off the coast of Sarandë, Albania, from which it is separated by straits varying in width from 3 to 23 km (2 to 15 mi), while the southeast side of the island lies off the coast of Thesprotia, Greece. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu peripheral unit, and is administered as a single municipality. The municipality includes the island Corfu and the smaller islands Ereikoussa, Mathraki and Othonoi. The principal city of the island and seat of the municipality (pop. 33,886) is also named Corfu. Corfu is home to the Ionian University.

Two high and well-defined ranges divide the island into three districts, of which the northern is mountainous, the central undulating, and the southern low-lying. The more important of the two ranges, that of Pantokrator stretches east and west from Cape Falacro to Cape Psaromita, and attains its greatest elevation in the summit of the same name.

The second range culminates in the mountain of Santi Jeca, or Santa Decca or the Ten Saints.

The whole island, composed as it is of various limestone formations, presents great diversity of surface, and views from more elevated spots are magnificent.

Beaches are found in Agios Gordis, the Korission lagoon, Agios Georgios, Marathia, Kassiopi, Sidari, Palaiokastritsa and many others.

Corfu is located near the Kefalonia geological fault formation; earthquakes have occurred. Corfu city and countryside have not lost the traditional architecture from the 16th century.

Corfu's coastline spans 217 kilometres (135 mi) including capes; its highest point is Mount Pantokrator (906 metres (2,972 ft)); and the second Stravoskiadi, at 849 metres (2,785 ft). The full extent of capes and promentories take in Agia Aikaterini, Drastis to the north, Lefkimmi and Asprokavos to the southeast, and Megachoro to the south. Two islands are also to be found at a middle point of Gouvia and Corfu Bay, which extends across much of the eastern shore of the island; are known as Lazareto and Ptychia (or Vido).

Several cultivated plants are found across the island; olives, pomegranate, fig and grape vine along with all the fruit trees known in southern Europe, with addition of the kumquat, loquat and prickly pear and, in some spots, the banana. When undisturbed by cultivation, the myrtle, arbutus, bay and holm oak form a rich brushwood, and the minor flora of the island are extensive.

Bird Life

Corfu's mild all-year round climate and because it is one of the greenest island in the med with a number of lagoons it does have a rich avifauna. Unfortunately, of course, they have to avoid the ravages of hunters. Nevertheless, around 200 species have been recorded. High elevations and wetlands are the best places to bird but scrubland, orchards and cultivated areas do hold birds if you are quiet and patient.

Arriving by plane the first wetland you will see is by the airport itself which is built in the Chalikopoulou lagoon, a small ecosystem in its own right. This is a sea water lagoon but has several streams that trickle fresh water almost all year round make is a very diverse habitat for wildlife. It has recently been designated as a reserve.

There are two much larger lagoons the Korission in the south west and Andinoni in the north east but the greatest magnet for bird life is the great salt flat in Lefkimmi and the no longer used salt pans.

See ad below for Corfu villas for rent

Top Sites

Lake Halikiopoulos

Satellite View

Now designated as a nature reserve

Lake Korision

Satellite View

Lefkimi Salt Pans

Satellite View

Waders, terns including Whiskered and Black and heron species including Purple Heron, Spoonbills & Squacco Heron. Surrounding area good for Tawny Pipit.

Pantokrator Mountain

Satellite View

Good for raptors and Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush, Cirl Bunting, Black-eared Wheatear and Black Redstart…

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 250

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2006 [05 May] - Justin Zantboer

Report

Although the birding at times wasn’t easy due to the vast amount of vegetation, at times it was very rewarding! I did find at first that some of the warblers could prove to be very elusive and skulky but just as is often the case in this country, remaining quiet and still normally meant the bird would give itself up! The numbers of birds present was also impressive with some of the wooded areas being full of bird-song early in the morning although two nights of rain during the early part of the week left the surrounding area literally teeming with birds so this was obviously a big help. 91 species was certainly more than I expected and I suspect that I could have seen a lot more had I have hired a car for two days instead of one. To sum it up, I was very impressed with the birding and the location as a whole…

2008 [05 May] - Colin D

Report

In truth it wasn’t the greatest week birding I’ve ever had, but then we didn’t just go for birds, and as a general wildlife week it was outstanding, and I did at least get one lifer…

2010 [05 May] - Steve Young

Report

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2012 [08 August] - Steve Goddard

Report

…On a relatively early morning walk (8am onwards) around the Pink Palace scrubland I had some good views of Subalpine Warblers and a Sardinian in an olive tree; and a phyllosc with a very yellow head and throat, a pronounced supercilium and eyestripe, little marking around the ear coverts and a very pale underside, was a pretty clear Wood Warbler. At the small river which flows through the village, a rufous bird, quite long-tailed and perhaps giving a quiet ‘tick’ call, skulking in some undergrowth, was a Nightingale. Finally, two large birds some way out at sea, dark above and light below, soaring in a clearly shearwater-ish way and occasionally settling on the water were Cory’s Shearwaters….

2014 [09 September] - Paul Dykta

Report

All our birding was done on foot as neither of us drive, saying that we were out every day, thunder storms or not. We did three trips to a nearby salt water lake/lagoon called lake Korisson, although you couldn't get too close to it from the south on foot, you could certainly get good views. The rest of our time out was spent walking through olive trees(more like forests than groves)and round agricultural land. In fact we approached the lake by three different routes, one of them across large sand dunes.

Other Links

Birds around Agios Georgios, Arillas & Agios Stefanos

Article

…In early season the air around the accommodation is full of wheeling Swallows and House Martins feeding their young high under the eaves with flies they have snatched out of the air or plucked from the surface of the hotel pool, chattering House and Spanish Sparrows, and Spotted Flycatchers who cheekily nest inches from where we sit on the balconies. A pair of noisy Stonechats are busy feeding their newly flown youngsters while a beautifully coloured Grey Wagtail dips its tail around the garden…

Corfu Wildlife

Article

Due to the Corfiots love of hunting most species of birds on the island shun human contact and might not be as abundant as in other parts of Europe therefore you have to work hard to observe them…

Nature Conservancy in Michigan

Article

Those of you familiar with Gerald Durrell's "My Family and Other Animals" will already have an idea of the diversity of flora and fauna in Corfu. For those keen to observe the beauty of nature at close quarters, the island is a naturalist's paradise. Whether you are a keen botanist, ornithologist, zoologist or photographer, Corfu has something for you…

Wildlife on Corfu

Article

Due to the Corfiots love of hunting during the winter months most species of birds on the island shun human contact and might not be as abundant as in other parts of Europe therefore you have to work hard to observe them…