Nature Park Proposal: Phaliriko Delta Athens

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Nature Park Proposal: Phaliriko Delta Athens

This may be the natural advantage of the capital of Europe. On the banks of a lively river next to a wonderful open nature park.

March 28, 2015 Faliron Bay - Moschato Beach

I think capital cities need open green spaces for nature. Not only for nature - for the safety of the city; For people, culture; Quality of life and green infrastructure. I think we failed in Athens. I think one of the reasons for this is not only bad decisions, bad planning and the unforgivable confusion created by the politicians in power, but also the chaos created by the politicians in power. The heart of society is also responsible.

And we naturalists let them go. We need to know more. We have a love for nature to find natural beauty. We know how to identify a good site. Indicators are many: birds, plant communities, insects, natural color elements. Landscape - the relationship between land, sea and sky. We have it in Folly Delta.

My naturalist colleagues and I got to know Faliri Delta well in the 80s - we made a strong call for its protection as it is one of the most important biodiversity areas in Athens - and we tried to publicize it then. The Hellenic Ornithological Society has indeed done much. We have done extensive reporting on this issue in two publications. But in the year When the 2004 Olympic Games were announced in 1997, the idea of ​​a natural park seemed meaningless... Politicians thought of turning the area into a mega project. And they tried. Build sports facilities, dig and straighten river mouths, paint beaches, expand marinas, put concrete everywhere. But they are not finished. (Enough time...)

So now we have a ruined landscape. Fall rain wet migratory birds wet! Between the two legendary rivers - Kyphisos and Ilyssos - little land remains. Let's call it "Moschatos Coast" (it's the town of Moschatos). 800 meters of empty beach with a width of only 300 meters are filled with high places! Now with chrysanthemum and mustard fields, small ponds, blooming marinas, dried acacia pencils in full bloom. People don't know this place exists. 5 million people live in the great confluence of the Athens Basin. What a serious failure - not to make a natural park!

Here's what my crazy naturalist friends and I suggest:

A) Low cost: High cost plan for implementation to create a unique natural park in the area. Restoration and eco-development: the creation of the "Faleri Delta Natural Park" on the coast of Mossato . The main purpose and premise is a park that is open to people and biodiversity as a natural landscape.

b) a habitat improvement plan that introduces naturalistic habitat features similar to the agro-pastoral coastal areas of Aegean Greece. Imagine the beautiful fields and meadows behind the beaches of Lesvos, Paros, Legrena and Sounion. Instead of planting shrubs that are common in urban parks, keep the field open. Let the bush grow, wild field! Design simple, shallow ponds and ponds for future birds; They need shelter and peace. Create a hill with open, natural-looking vegetation and scattered trees. "Plant" rocks instead of trees. Blue Thrush - Petrocotyphus - comes here to sing in winter...

c) Inclusion of some uncontrolled units, birds continue to gather and nest in these places - larks, swallows, martens, terns. Create interpretive trails, viewpoints, and displays that help people appreciate the landscape. If the place is planted as an artificial bush, people will feel safer here. The sea breeze flows uninterrupted into the Attica basin and fills it: finally the sea and the city meet.

This ruined land - this "bazotopos" - is still very important: it can be the crown jewel of the Athenian parks.

Can we help promote the concept of nature parks?
Can some members of the local community work with the government to achieve this?
Is that a priority for a city facing an unprecedented economic downturn?


Photos from today's visit (10 years after the last visit...). Photographed in less than an hour - I saw 26 species! Moreover, for the sake of spontaneity, I met four other Athenian ornithologists there: Margherita, Vaso, Vassilis and Pavlos. They think, they know.

Here we can create green infrastructure and open spaces for people and biodiversity rather than the kitsch over-development that is being proposed.

Saturday afternoon and no one knows about this place; Imagine a nature park!!!

Migratory birds come and go in March, April and May: the black-throated bird flies today.

The ocean is eutrophic. Rich in small fishes. It is a red-breasted duck - piscivorous!

Crested Merganser - A very rare bird for Attica! Many seabirds came out today.
Father fishes, children play; Concrete piles everywhere. We Greeks are obsessed with concrete!


Fall of Poseidon. This is our boat! Athena and Poseidon in battle: Poseidon wins. You have to believe in the idea of ​​combining the beach with the city. This park can help you!

Never on Sunday: Piraeus behind the Kifissos River. The idea of ​​a natural park helps Piraeus: unemployment, poverty and crime have increased dramatically. Sports facilities are not required.

This is the face of one of the most famous river gods of antiquity - Kyphisos!

To the west of the Moscato bank (above the Kifissos river) there is a dam hill - the edge is now fenced off - but around the hill many "birds" have these semi-natural habitats: there are leafless acacia trees that collect rainwater, mustard. There were fields and rock piles that ruled nature and nature regenerated. Give nature a chance. Expect such natural features in this new park.

Around the small hill were wonderful tropical birds. He's a little hunter, Silvan exclaims.

Common and Bad Residents: Crested Alontoxa. These birds nest and feed on open ground; If you plant a tree, it will not survive.

In common northern water migration habitats - 2004 Olympic project empty works as "rocky" habitats are suitable options. They are also open field birds.

Spring brings lots of pipits and pipits - meadow pipits love puddles of rainwater.

Meadow Pipit bathing - a break from spring migration.

 Rocks and stairs!
A pile of stones and a cart!


Moscato Beach - Rainwater harvesting and water grass!!! It's amazing how nature renews itself.

Moschato coastal region. Think of it as a nature park overlooking the new cultural center building and the old Olympic Games on the Ilyssos river. It's not difficult - think about it...

The mouth of the river Ilissos looks south towards Paleo Faliro. The largest battleship in between is the legendary Averof - In 1912, a ship sunk on several Greek islands in the Aegean Sea - making her a Greek ship forever.

Wild tamarisk near the mouth of the river Ilissos. This species - which resembles Tamarix gallica - is a wild tree found in many marshy areas on the western coast of the Aegean Sea. It has very beautiful flowers.

The mouth of the river Ilyssos. Near the grounds of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. It was a small mouth when I was a child, now it is designed like a modern European canal! (Thank you, Europe!)

Moschato Coast - collect water everywhere. This makes the birds happy!

Mochato Coast - Undeveloped Land!! And many flowers: arugula, chrysanthemums, mallows, nettles, marigolds and more!

Northern bells

Larks! Bazaars seem to be wintering here - great to see and hear.

Lark needs open space, empty land, little grass. These are good examples of the naturalness of space in city parks.

Thumbs up.

Field Pipit Relocation - Close-up photography is permitted.

The yellowtail (a black-headed species) migrated directly from Africa.

Wagtail (black head type).

Woodland Cat Shrike
Today's location: Between the mouth of the Kifissos River and the mouth of the Ilissos River there is a short beach - only 800 meters wide and about 300 meters wide... There are two artificial islands in Phaleron Bay. Eutrophic bodies of water filled with mullet and other fish. The feeling of being in a closed lake like a beach. Notice that Moschato Beach is the only large undeveloped area in the picture!!!!



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