A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts October 2014

Spot the Bird

A black redstart among the rocks. Lots of them too, around Ksisos. Elsewhere a yellow wagtail flew over the village near my house.

On another note: I shall be away for a week or more so no postings. However I should have a few pics and reports from Crete to post when I return.

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Tucked behind a wall out of the strong wind that is blowing today are these colourful behives. The bees are still active; it is 22c and there are clear blue skies.

Rock Formations

The view from the hill above Aghia Marina in the middle of Symi. In the far distance to the top of the picture is a couple of acres of enclosed land, ungrazed, and still full of greenery or brownery(!) at least.






Looking across to Kokkimidhis. The landscape is bare here, the vegetation eaten away by grazing animals and parched d…

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More Prickly Plants

A genuine thistle this time, Picnomon acarna or sometimes called the yellow spined thistle. If you have ever walked across the field below the old dragon castle you'll know how horrible this plant is!

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A Sea Holly

This sea holly has a beautiful amethyst blue flower. It is Eryngium amethystinium or more easily blue eryngo. It is a clump-forming, perennial, tap-rooted herb. Its stem is 30 to 50 cm long and is light blue to purple in colour. It has a basal circle of obovate, pinnate, spiny, leathery, mid-green leaves. It flowers in mid to late summer with cylin…

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Biarum davisii

This is an extremely rare and threatened plant here found on Symi.

I've quoted from the "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species".

"Biarum davisii is endemic to Crete (The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2010).  It occurs in the the southeast, central and western part of the island at an altitude between 0 to 1,050 m.  Extent of …

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Fresh Water on Nanou Beach!

A fresh water spring on Nanou beach! Much depleted and very brackish at this time of year I would think and probably only for the use of goats and sheep. Testing the water was an oertzeni's lizard and a red admiral. Quite clearly written on the side in english "do not drink"!

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Olive Tree at Nanou

An enormous and ancient olive tree behind the beach at Nanou. Full of olives too!


The weight of olives on this tree is bending the branches. The harvest must be close.

Here's a link to harvesting time!








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Autumn Squill

I found this tiny little flower on the path from St Georges down to Nimborios. Barely ten centimetres tall and in a small cluster of four plants hidden among the shrubs of the garrigue on the hillside. This is the autumn squill or Scillia autumnis and is found widespread throughout the Mediterranean.





 After nearly no rain for five…

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"Never Say Never"

"Lyndon"  a number of my guests say attracting my attention while walking to the wine presses.

"Do you get snakes on Symi?". I'm always careful in answering this question just in case one of our walkers has a phobia about creepy crawly things. There are eleven of us today and after all we are in a wood in the middle of  a Greek island some distan…

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Red Veined Darter

This is the red veined darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) here photographed around Marathounda bay on Symi.

Turkish Van Cat

This cat didn't arrive in a white van (although this one might well have done) but its breed comes from an area in Eastern Turkey near Lake Van. These cats are notable for their lean, long-legged appearance. Van cats are also known for swimming in Lake Van and it is said that this breed is innately more fond of water than the average cat.
Their most…

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13 blog posts