Allowed image types are jpeg,png,gif
Max file size is 20MB
More than 100 bird species have been recorded, one third of them being resident species of the Mount Ainos National Park on the island of Kefalonia.
That bare stony ground of lover slopes of Mt Ainos is not the natural habitat here, but a consequence of centuries of forest felling and fires. Forces which, combined, have reduced the island forest cover to a quarter of its previous size. The range of those surviving endemic Greek Firs (Abies cephalonica) was declared a national park, five decades ago. This fir grows at the highest part of Mount Ainos, whose main peak reaches 1628 meters (5341 ft.) a.s.l. The region exceeding the 1000 m. altitude has a length of 11 km.
Once you enter the forest, the air becomes fresh, moist and almost Alpine like and yet, every now and then, the waste expanse of the Ionian Sea is visible from an excellent tarmac road that is winding through the firs, some dead and dry, some old, tall and thick – all of them covered in various lichen and mosses.
More than 100 bird species have been recorded, one third of which are residents of the Mt Ainos National Park. The most important are the birds of prey Short-toed Snake Eagle, Lanner Falcon and European Honey-buzzard, as well as Rock Partridge (I was successful on lower slopes) and Cretzschmar's Bunting. Other birds to look out for are Little Owl, Eurasian Nightjar, Hoopoe, Northern Goshawk, Coal Tit, etc.
The asphalt road leads to the antennas of the transmitter station, but continue along the dirt track to the next, less disturbed peak, looking like a pile of boulders surrounded by beautiful old firs overgrown with lichen beards and with great views of the island’s southern shores and the blueness beyond. Zoom in on the map and click on the "P" (parking) sign for driving directions.
The semi-wild horses of Ainos live on the S-SE slopes, above the village of Arginia. Their home is the area surrounding the monastery of Zoodohou Pigis (The Source of Life). Ainos's only freshwater spring is there, with a scant supply of water to quench the thirst of sheep, goats, people and horses alike.