Preliminary results regarding Lesser Kestrel colonies in the two project areas in Greece

In the context of Action A.5 "Evaluation of Lesser Kestrel colonies, identification of suitable for nest boxes places and important species concentration hot spots in Northern Greece" of the LIFE for Lesser Kestrel project, the project team in Greece (HSPN, University of Thessaly, and an ornithologist) carried out surveys in the project areas between 20-29 June 2021. The areas visited included Anthofyto (SPA PERIOCHI ANTHOFYTOU GR1230006) and Lake Pikrolimni (SPA LIMNI PIKROLIMNI - XILOKERATEA GR1230004) in Kilkis, Central Macedonia, as well as North Evros and Ardas (SPA KOILADA ERYTHROPOTAMOU: ASVESTADES, KOUFOVOUNO, VRYSIKA GR1110011) in Thrace.
A census of the Lesser Kestrel population was carried out in 56 villages, and a rapid population evaluation in 9 other villages. The foraging habitat around the villages and the availability of nesting sites on buildings within the villages were also evaluated.
The preliminary results were encouraging for the species in the Kilkis area since in 6 out of 12 villages colonies were recorded, and good to excellent habitat, and good to very good availability of nesting sites were found in some villages.
On the other hand, the preliminary results in the Evros and Ardas areas were less positive but scientifically important. The species was found to be present only in the known colony of Orestiada and absent from all the other 43 villages that were surveyed in the area. Suitable sites were found in some settlements, however foraging habitat was initially assessed as moderate or unsuitable.
Τhe data gathered should be analyzed in correlation with further external measurements regarding the habitat, in order to draw final conclusions.