A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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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.

Symi Wild Life

A long viral infection has coincided with my decision, sadly, to stop adding to my blog, so I apologise to my readers for an absence here. The website will remain live and I will still receive emails over any matters relating to wildlife on Symi and hope to answer any queries you may have. I have had great fun exploring the wildlife on Symi, met many fellow naturalists with far more experience than I that has added to my knowledge of all things related to life, ecology and habitats. I wish all of you the very best for the new year and happy bird spotting, reptile hunting, plant discovering or whatever is your thing. 

Greece has one of the most diverse ecosystems in Europe and deserves much more exploring, so go for it. I will.

Bye for now......

Season's Greetings

Olive Tree

Occasionally I come across an olive tree with real character and age such as this one. I am guessing it was probably part of an olive grove once upon a time. Appolakia bay on Rhodes.


Mediterranean Funghi

The birth of a mushroom. On Rhodes in pine woodland, the smaller ones on open arable fields. Lots of rain this year so should be good for mushroom hunters! Waiting for identification.


Mesanagros is a small village perched on the side of a hill at about 400 metres above sea level in the middle of the southern tip of Rodos. On three sides every hill and slope has been terraced by man for cultivation but lost through the ages with just a few olive groves here and there. Indeed, the village's name means "large enclosed byzantine farm". Above the village stretches the mountains covered in purple flowering heather. It is raining even though there is no rain forecast but I can see the sun shinning on some distant hills near the coast. Tsambika, the local Taverna owner, says it will make fine honey once the bees have worked it. I buy some pine tree honey, quite unusual, I am told. Sam also tells me his family has looked after the church for many generations and unlocks the door for me to go in. It dates from the 13th c and occupies the ground where an early Christian 6th century, 3 nave Church once stood. It is simply very beautiful. As I leave this place of just 15 people (according to Sam) I am touched by the history and the past that I have only scraped the surface of. I must return again and spend more time here.

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Common Buzzard

It's been a few days since I posted anything and the square at Stavros and staircase above it is still the same as in the photo on a previous post. We have moved to our winter quarters after doing some repair work, sorting the water supply out etc. Indeed we are told some able bodies will be coming to start work on the square this week. 

In a rare moment I caught this distant common buzzard catching a rising thermal before he disappeared over the mountain behind us. A first for me on Symi, they don't breed here so I guess it's passing through. The light collar around the chest gives it away.


A muddy blanket dangles limply over a pipe, its sodden ends dripping into the chasm below. Where once a neatly paved square afforded a view of the colourful houses and churches in the village there is now just the bare bones of Symi, a ravine, pure bedrock scoured clean by a million gallons of water, mud and rocks. Years of household rubbish, abandoned by their owners, washed away down the waterfall and into the harbour. Looking up from the square a hastily repaired water pipe, unmoored from its tethers, snakes its way over loose piles of stones past a door that sits atop a flight of steps that is no longer there. A heap of sticky wet red clay sits to one side having been recently shovelled from someone’s living room floor. Near the top of the staircase the bowels of a house stare out, a sterna or water chamber broken. The last house at the top of the village has lost an outside wall and sits like a dolls house open for everybody to see inside. The old lady that lived there is safe thank goodness. Here, attached to the wall, there used to be a wicket gate to keep the sheep and goats at bay. In the spring orchids and wild flowers wave in the breeze clinging close to the ground but beyond on the hillside is the ravine from whence the water came trying to reconnect with its friend below.


I am standing on the balcony and watch the storm approaching. Night becomes day; a brief instant in time and the Acropolis in front of me is revealed. The houses below light up and the church on top almost touching the sky. The thunder is constant but still the rain is light, a few drops here and there. The lightning zigzags across the sky from cloud to cloud and the red lights on the windmills from nearby Datca on another continent flicker on and off. A bolt strikes the hill behind with an instant crack. This signals a fall of hailstones that rattle the metal table and chairs on the terrace. The lights falter, dim and just for a brief moment fail but return. It is also a signal to go inside and disconnect the wifi, lest, heaven forbid, I should no longer have contact with the outside world. On the balcony, of course this is the outside world in all its raw, unadulterated form.


By now I'm sure that most of you have heard of the terrible storm that's happened here. Until the situation improves I will be unable to post any further articles. This is the view of our local square. The harbour has been devastated and many businesses flooded. I have not heard of any loss of life but people have lost homes and their welfare etc...There are sites up on Facebook where you can offer financial help so please refer to that. We are ok but have a limited water supply as does most of the top of Horio so until we get help we can only help others to clear up the mess.

Rain, Thunder, Lightning and Hail......

A welcome drop of rain for Symi today.

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