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.


December 3, 2016

I've shown this species before but it's such a lovely specimen with it's long stripy leaves and showing the stamens and styles. Crocus tournefortii subspecies boryi.


December 2, 2016

The rain has brought out lots of green shoots and a couple of earth balls probably from the Sclerodermatacae family, but please correct me if I'm wrong! The bottom one could easily be mistaken for another stone on the path.


The Story of the Cypress Pine

December 1, 2016

Below is an excerpt  from George Pyschoundakis's "The Cretan Runner" and his version of why you find these trees all over Greece in Church yards. A really good read.

Kastelli Beach and rain

November 30, 2016

The thunder and lightning have finally come with copious amounts of rain so a reflection of a few seashore plants from Kastelli  on Crete. The sea daffodil that I have talked about elsewhere; sea holly (Eryngium maritime) which is also a British native which "we call it aftastos....when you grind the stamps without the spikes..and mix it with salt it makes an incredible spice .." and the yellow horned poppy or Papaver flavum which exudes a yellow juice when cut and is very poisonous  and which the extract is used as an hallucinogenic drug (also a UK native).

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More Springs.

November 29, 2016

Well, after being promised rain for the last two days nothing has occurred. Lots of lightning in the night, but I'm reminded that there are places where water still runs freely regardless of the weather. A spring well built in 1520 by the Venetians in Kastelli on Crete and still going strong.

Agios Pandeleimonas

November 28, 2016

The monastery is located at the extreme North West of Tilos at the end of the road at a very isolated spot. Situated just below Krialos and next to a spring we took a bus up there but you can walk the old mountain path from Eristos. Over the doorway into the church (the red roofed building) there is an inscription with the date 1470. There is a very old plane tree below the spring and the water still runs after a very very dry winter and summer.




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A Day Trip to Tilos

November 27, 2016

The beach and port at Livadia;  a Mediterranean shag in the harbour; a song thrush in Megalo Horio, only the second one I have seen in four years, the first being on Symi at about the same time of year; and hooded crows which are noticeable by their absence on Symi and finally sunset over Tilos.


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November 26, 2016

I don't normally do cats on this blog but I thought this group was quite cute particularly as the mother cat brought them down from the top of the village and left them outside our door. Fortunately they are being fed elsewhere.

Ivy Leaved Sowbread

November 25, 2016

On a hill overlooking the harbour on Kalymnos Ivy leaved sowbread and a fishing boat returning in the late afternoon's sun. Cyclamen hederifolium  is commonly known as sowbread or swinebread because wild pigs had a particular fondness for the tubers. According to the Greek philosopher Theospartus (c327-c287BC) it was used to excite love and voluptuous desires. The plant was also associated with the Greek goddess Hekate, whose knowledge of wild plants and poisons was great.

Bright Colours

November 24, 2016

Looking forward to some storms that are promised for next week to alleviate the drought and supply water to the citrus fruits and olive trees that are struggling this year. In the meantime here are some colourful non native flowers to be found in the Botanical Gardens on Crete a month ago.

Not forgetting a few bee-hives.



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