Schinias Wetlands, Sunday 10 April

Our walk of 10 April at the wetlands of Schinias will be a fairly short walk of about 7 Km on totally flat land, so no climbs. Yet, it is a walk full of thrills. We will stop at 2 observation towers of about 10 metres height, with space for about 10 people. Bring binoculars as the big birds won’t circle directly overhead especially for you, unless you feel particularly tasty. We have recently seen 2 eagles, a hawk, many coots, grebes and ducks. Also said to be around are buzzards, kestrels, falcon, swans, chiffchaff and water pipits.
We start at 12:00 noon. Philip is leading this walk, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call Philip on 6945046977. Please read section on footwear below!

Coming via Kifissia, the northern suburbs and Dionysos
Go northwards on Leoforos Kifissias, which changes name to Leoforos Thiseos as it crosses Erythrea, Kastri and Ekali, until you reach a sign for “Schinias, Nea Makri and Dionysos”. Turn right here. After several kilometres you will be traversing on the north side of Mt Penteli. Continue to drive on the main road, as it reaches the top of the mountain and bends left, beginning its descent, giving you views out to the sea below. Descend the hill into Nea Makri until you meet a major cross road with Leoforos Marathonos; facing you at the lights will be an Alfa Beta store and a Shell petrol station. Turn left and set your odometer to zero.
After 1.8 Km you will pass on your left an Avin petrol station and Toyota garage.
At 6.3 Km, you will reach a set of traffic lights at a Galaxias supermarket. Turn right.
At 9.2 Km turn right at a sign indicating “Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre”. Pass the Centre on your left and swing left. The road then becomes a single carriageway with sleeping policemen, following the coastline about 200 metres on your right.
At Km 13.0, you will pass the taverna “H Kali Kardia”; this is where we shall meet after the walk for a meal. At about Km 14 leave the road, taking an opening to the right. There is a sign for taverna ‘Delfini’ at this point. We meet 50 m down this dirt road and before the taverna. There is plenty of parking in the woods. Caution: if you miss the turning at 14 km, after another 1000 m or so you get to the end of the tarmac road and the beach. You need to reverse and search for the first opening to the left, as you are driving back.

Coming from the city centre, via the Attiki Odos
Take Attiki Odos towards the airport, take the slip road marked for ‘Rafina’. Keep on the spur road and turn left at the traffic lights at the end of the dual carriageway. Turn right at the next set of lights. You will be on Leoforos Marathonos, a dual carriageway in the suburb of Pallini. Keep following the signs for ‘Rafina’. As you approach Rafina, do not take the turn off to the right for Rafina, but follow the dual carriageway. Continue until you reach Nea Makri. About 300 metres after you pass the Plateia (square) on your right, you will approach a set of traffic lights. There is a church, an Alfa Beta store and a Shell station on your right (in that order). Set your odometer to zero at the traffic lights.
After 1.8 Km you will pass on your left an Avin petrol station and Toyota garage.
At 6.3 Km, you will reach a set of traffic lights at a Galaxias supermarket. Turn right.
At 9.2 Km turn right at a sign indicating “Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre”. Pass the Centre on your left and swing left. The road then becomes a single carriageway with sleeping policemen, following the coastline about 200 metres on your right.
At Km 13.0, you will pass the taverna “H Kali Kardia”; this is where we shall meet after the walk for a meal.
At about Km 14 leave the road, taking an opening to the right. There is a sign for taverna ‘Delfini’ at this point. We meet 50 m down this dirt road and before the taverna. There is plenty of parking in the woods. Caution: if you miss the turning at 14 km, after another 1000 m or so you get to the end of the tarmac road and the beach. You need to reverse and search for the first opening to the left, as you are driving back.

Coming from the city centre, toll-free
Take Leoforos (avenue) Mesogion, the principal road passing the suburbs of Papagou, Holargos and Agia Paraskevi. At the junction of Stavros drive straight ahead towards Pallini. You will be on Leoforos Marathonos, a dual carriageway. Keep following the signs for ‘Rafina’. As you approach Rafina, do not take the turn off to the right for Rafina, but follow the dual carriageway. Continue until you reach Nea Makri. About 300 metres after you pass the Plateia (square) on your right, you will approach a set of traffic lights. There is a church, an Alfa Beta store and a Shell station on your right (in that order). Set your odometer to zero at the traffic lights.
After 1.8 Km you will pass on your left an Avin petrol station and Toyota garage.
At 6.3 Km, you will reach a set of traffic lights at a Galaxias supermarket. Turn right.
At 9.2 Km turn right at a sign indicating “Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre”. Pass the Centre on your left and swing left. The road then becomes a single carriageway with sleeping policemen, following the coastline about 200 metres on your right.
At Km 13.0, you will pass the taverna “H Kali Kardia”; this is where we shall meet after the walk for a meal.
At about Km 14 leave the road, taking an opening to the right. There is a sign for taverna ‘Delfini’ at this point. We meet 50 m down this dirt road and before the taverna. There is plenty of parking in the woods. Caution: if you miss the turning at 14 km, after another 1000 m or so you get to the end of the tarmac road and the beach. You need to reverse and search for the first opening to the left, as you are driving back.

Coming by bus
You cannot get to the walk start by bus. If you need a lift, ask before end Thursday.

Taverna
After the walk we shall dine at the taverna “H Kali Kardia”; you will have passed it on your way to the walk start.

Footwear
The tracks in the wetlands are still wet at this time of the year and it will be impossible to keep to a dry path at all times; in a few parts the water is up to 15 – 20 cm deep, and there is no way to skirt around it. However the ground on which we shall walk is firm. Consequently it is important that you wear suitable footwear and bring another pair to wear after the walk. Bring shoes/boots that won’t be damaged by immersion in water, and a change of shoes, socks and even trousers.

Bird life
The population of birds using Schinias Wetlands in their migration journeys has increased noticeably over the past 5 years. This is a result of works which have taken place, to protect the natural habitats of birds, over the same period. Consequently, at least 35 species have been observed. The area also houses the largest population of terrapins in Attica, another indicator of a healthy ecosystem.
See the following site for winter bird life in Schinias:
https://greekbirding.blogspot.com/search/label/Schinias%20National%20Park?updated-max=2010-04-11T14%3A45%3A00%2B03%3A00&max-results=20