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.

Almond Flowers.

February 27, 2017

Almond trees are in flower now and make a very pretty display. Sadly I have received reports of quite a few losses from the lack of rains last year. lets hope this year is better. (On another note I am aware that the galleries on my website are misbehaving and I'm waiting for the web provider to sort this out).

Follow the Sun

February 26, 2017

Sun worshipping corn chamomiles enjoying a few rays. Anthemis arvensis.



Crown Anemone

February 25, 2017

A rare crown anemone on Symi. On all other islands I have seen vast swathes in olive groves, roadsides, hillsides and fields. But not on Symi. Anemone coronaria.


A Spur-Thighed Tortoise

February 24, 2017

Enjoying some warm spring sunshine in the Pedi Valley.

A Few Warm Days

February 23, 2017

Brings out some common flowers. Prasium, a common shrubby plant and a member of the mint family.

Gagea penduncularis, a member of the lily family.

Long-beaked stork's bill, a member of the geranium family.

And not a favourite of mine, not because of its beautiful flowers but because of what it represents. A tenacious member of the lily family that will survive over grazing due to it being unpalatable and will colonise large areas. Far too common on Symi. The bulb was used formerly as a glue.

Read more

An Octopus in my Ouzo

February 22, 2017

A lovely evocative blog about North Karpathos by Jennifer Barclay. A Good read.

Click here;   An Octopus in my Ouzo.

Scops Owls

February 14, 2017

Despite a bitingly cold wind last night and a low of 4c I was surprised to hear a scops owl hooting close by in the village and another responding some distance away. Their status on Symi has long been a mystery to me and although they clearly do well as a breeding bird in the Summer I suspect they migrate to warmer climes in the winter. There is some evidence that the scops owl population increases on Crete in the winter and generally more northerly populations migrate south, but those on the edge of the northern rim of the Mediterranean may well stay put in all but the most harshest of winters. Photographing these birds is also a challenge not least because they are nocturnal unlike the little owl so here's a pic of one taken by Peter Vidal some time ago.


February 13, 2017

This is only the second wren I've seen on Symi in four years and in a place not far from the first viewing and at the same time of year too. Likely to be a winter visitor as some northern European populations are known to migrate in very cold weather. The wren has a shy and skulking habit feeding on the ground and in low bushes. Like the sardinian warbler it also is very difficult to photograph and rarely stays in one spot for long or reveals itself from cover.



February 12, 2017

I saw my first (spur-thighed) tortoise yesterday enjoying a bit of warm sunshine and with a very green and grubby mouth.


February 11, 2017

A member of the Iris family of plants, romuleas are crocus like, small low cormous plants quite often difficult to identify. On balance I would say this is Romulae tempskyana, the other similar one on Symi being R. ramiflora often found nearby and possibly hybridised.



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