Small islands are of great importance for trans-Saharan migratory birds, which must stop during their long journeys to recover energies; the availability of resources in the form of wild fruits or insects (depending on the species) allows these flocks of migrants to continue their journey. Bird conservation is dictated by the Birds Directive 79/409, updated by 2009/47; it involves Member States to engage with specific actions for their protection. The establishment of Special Protection Areas is aimed at safeguarding the species in Annex 1 of the Directive in those territories; some of them have been identified on these small islands. This is a commitment taken by all the member countries of the European Union, precisely because the bird populations do not know administrative boundaries and their protection goes beyond the interests and competence of a single country.
Linosa in particular, possessing a small territory, just over 5 km2 wide, offers the opportunity to observe during bird migration (spring: especially April-May; autumn: from late August to late October) a wide variety of species both Passeriformes and other orders. Among these, every year ornithologists identify and record very rare or accidental species in Italian territory. They are proof that small offshore islands are some of the best laboratories for studying bird migration. We can certainly assert that Linosa is a "paradise" for birdwatchers; it is possible to observe both North African species that overflow on the Pelagian islands, as well as North European species on their way to their breeding grounds and in autumn on their way South towards their wintering grounds in Africa. They make a stop on Linosa to recover the necessary energy for continue their long flight to Europe.
For anyone wishing to learn more about the birds of Linosa and the other islands around Sicily and get a better picture of bird migration, go to “Gli Uccelli delle isole circumsiciliane” downloadable from this link.
SNORKELING & DIVING
Linosa is certainly one of the most sought after locations by scuba diving enthusiasts due to its great richness in vertebrates and marine invertebrates that, together with the spectacular nature of the seabed, offers unforgettable dives. Thanks also to the remarkable abundance of life that can be observed even in low coastal waters, Linosa offers the possibility of evoking strong emotions even to the snorkelers (the observation of the sea bottom swimming on the surface and using mask and snorkel).
The volcanic seabed of the island offers visitors over 200 species of algae and marine plants, hundreds of species of fish and a very high number of marine invertebrates such as Echinoderms (sea stars and sea urchins), Porifera (marine sponges of varied shape and color), Briozoi (also called "sea-trellis" due to the delicacy of their textures), Polichetes commonly called "marine worms"), as well as Molluscs Bivalves and Gasteropods.
For those wishing to consult the complete list of marine species present along the seabed of the island, you can view the list floro-faunistic downloadable from this link.
Linosa is not just the sea!
Eco-tourists can experience a wide range of activities on Linosa and hiking enthusiasts can discover some of the island`s hidden charms during some unforgettable excursions. There are seven trekking paths, all well defined, effectively marked and regularly maintained. The difficulty level of the excursions is generally low and the excitement of being able to go into the caldera of an ancient volcano or to explore an ancient Roman cistern fully repay the modest effort.
The differences in altitude are naturally limited, considering that the highest peak on the island (Monte Vulcano) is just less than 200 m a.s.l. The recommended clothing consists of hiking shoes, hiking sticks, sunglasses and, above all, a large bottle of water to make up for dehydration, always lurking during hot summer excursions.
For anyone wishing to try their hand at exploring the paths, a very detailed hiking map is available free of charge at the reception center of the Nature Reserve. A simplified trail map and a photo album with some pictures taken along the island's trails are available at the following link.