A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi

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This site is dedicated to the wildlife of Symi and in particular anyone who has an interest in birds.

Symi belongs to the Dodecanese group of islands about 25 miles North West of Rhodes and over 250 miles from the Greek port of Piraeus. Symi lies between two peninsulas of  Turkey and at its closest is just six miles from Asia. Symi is mountainous and rocky with its highest peak, Vighla, at 620m.  The coastline is irregular  and measures about 85 km with numerous bays and headlands whilst being surrounded with a score or more islands and rocky islets. The island is mostly infertile and rocky (limestone) supporting a typical Mediterranean garrigue comunity of  dwarf shrubs and many aromatic herbs. There are a few small cultivated areas dotted throughout the island, notably above the harbour, Pedi  and elsewhere. Inland there are areas of coniferous forest consisting of cypresses and pine trees. The once cultivated valley of Pedi still supports a wide and varied range of flora and fauna. 

I hope you find this site interesting and I would encourage visitors to send in any pictures or comments you have that would add to the interest of those looking at the wildlife on Symi. Please go to the contact page for an email address.

Latest Sightings and Reports.


October 3, 2016

For those of you that know Rhodes this is what the Northern tip of Rhodes town looked like in 1882. The windmills on the left are still there in front of the big hotels and it's where we will be passing through on our way to airport and away for a few weeks. 

Waiting for Autumn Rains

October 2, 2016

The ground has been prepared on this terrace and is waiting for the Autumn rains which hopefully will be a lot more plentiful than last year.



October 1, 2016

Here's the equivalent of the English garden wren. He's noisy, industrious and skulks low in the undergrowth. The Sardinian warbler.

Now & Then

September 30, 2016

Symi in 1907 and 2015. Some of the houses are still recognisable, the Pedi valley looks green as ever but Kastro has been rebuilt after it was destroyed during the second world war.



Sea Holly

September 29, 2016

This sea holly is a member of the carrot family and flowers at the end of the summer when everything else has been and gone. Eryngium glomeratum.


September 28, 2016

Sitting on a plate or whatever they are called means we get earthquakes from time to time. The one last night was 5.2 on the Richter scale and the biggest I've experienced since living here. There was a low rumbling for 2 seconds and then everything shook at about midnight for a further second. Scary!



September 28, 2016

With no rain for months and months there are still one or two plants flowering. Picnomon acama is a genuine annual thistle and is perfectly adapted for the hot and arid conditions on Symi. And goat proof too!


September 27, 2016

Over the last few weeks a number of groups of bee-eaters have passed through but unlike other years I've not been able to find any to photograph at rest.

Masters of Camouflage

September 26, 2016

Freyer's grayling rests only with its wings closed and blends well with the rocks that surround it. A common large butterfly seen on Symi and many islands in the Eastern Aegean.

Another common butterfly is the Aegean meadow brown also well camouflaged but does show its upper wings from time to time.

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Stink Aster

September 25, 2016

Stink aster or Dittrichia graveolens is an annual sticky plant that smells of camphor. The bees love it but the honey it makes in the Autumn can sour it somewhat. In the past aster was placed inside mattresses to deter fleas, hence the common name fleabane for this family of plants.

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