The Climate of Meteora and Kalampaka Region
The mountain range to the east and north of the site experiences a wide climatic variation from baking heat in summer to severe cold in winter with heavy snowfalls. Summer is the driest time, storms occurring all year round especially at higher altitudes.
The area includes forested hills and river valley with riverine forests of Platanus orientalis and species such as the endemic Centaurea lactiflora (found near Koniskos village) and Centaurea kalambakensi. The nearest protected area is Trikala Aesthetic Forest(28ha), created in 1979, which has been planted with Pinus halepensis and Cupressus sempervivens. The potential vegetation cover is described as supra-Mediterranean, with climax cover of Quercus spp. And Ostrya spp. And beech Fagus sylvatica forest above 700m.
Mammals include grey wolf Canis lupus (V) and otter Lutra lutra. The region was famed in the 1970s for its raptor population, with four vulture species, lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, black Aegypius monachus, Griffon Gyps fulvus and Egyptian Neophron peranopterus; four eagle species, golden Aquila chrysaetos, short-toed Circaetus gallicus, booted Hieraeetus pennatus and Bonelli’s Hieraeetus fasciatus and breeding lanner falcons Falco biarmicus.
Other birds include rock and cliff haunting species, such as alpine swift Apus melba, crag martin Hirundo rupestris and red-rumped swallow Hirundo daurica. Somber tit Parus lugubris occurs in the valley. The area remains of importance for birds of prey, with breeding species of honey buzzard Pernis apivorus, black kite Milvus migrans (ten pairs), Egyptian vulture (with 50 pairs the largest population in Greece, but declining), short-toed eagle (five pairs), Levant sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, lesser-spotted eagle Aquila pomarina (one pair), booted eagle (three to five pairs), Bonelli’s eagle (one pair) and peregrine falcon. In addition, black stork Ciconia nigra breed (two pairs) and roller Coracius garrulus (ten pairs) are found (Grimmet and Jones, 1989).