Monday, 17 March 2008

Destinations: Pag - Croatia

Pag is the fifth largest island on the Croatian coast, and the one with the longest coastline. It is around 60 km long and from 2 to 10 km wide. The south-western shore at Pag Bay and Caska Cove slope into the sea whereas the north-eastern coastline, particularly at Stara Novalja Bay, is typified by cliffs, the Lun peninsula, in the very north, is planted mostly by olive-groves. At 348 m Sveti Vid is Pag's highest point. Most of the interior is rocky terrain though there is some macchia, vineyards, olive-groves and juniper-dotted, grass-sage grazing land. Away from the resorts, areas of scrub and cultivated land can be productive for songbirds in spring and summer. Fairly common species are Nightjar, Hoopoe, Red-rumped Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Crested, Short-toed and Calandra Larks, Black-eared Wheater, Melodious, Olivaceous, Subalpine, Sardinian and Eastern Orphean Warblers, Woodchat and Red-backed Shrikes, Spanish Sparrow and Black-headed and Cirl Buntings. Other birds here are Kentish Plover, Stone Curlew and Little Owl. Alpine, Pallid and Common Swifts are often over settlements. Raptors include Short-toed Eagle. There are two karst lakes (Velo Blato and Malo Blato) in the south-east of the island which are best during wader passage. In winter divers, grebes and seas-ducks are often just offshore and waders such as Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Curlew, Dunlin and Jack and Common Snipe. Ultimately, this is a site to visit in spring, though there many birds winter. Away from settlements Rock Doves possibly still authentic, rather than "feral". This is one of Croatia's most accessible islands as besides being close to the mainland it is also connected to it by a bridge at its southern tip, about 25 km north of Zadar.

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