A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts November 2014

Chania, Crete

This magnolia tree sits in the "Kyros" or municipal garden in Chania. The garden was created in 1870 by Reoef Pasha when Chania was under Turkish rule. Nearby a cafe was once the Cretan Parliament between 1896 and 1913. This tree dates from the opening of the park and is about 140 years old.






Opposite the magnolia tree is a smal…

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Second Spring

These brightly coloured plants are members of the daffodil family and I found them on the old donkey path (the cataractus) up to Horio. This is the common sternbergia or Sternbergia Lutea found all over the Mediterranean and often planted in gardens.

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Green Toad

I found this European green toad, bufo viridis, half way down the "lazy steps" after a very wet day (see previous post). This species can be found over much of Europe excluding the British Isles and Switzerland . It lives in a wide range of forests, forest steppe, scrubland, grassland and alpine habitats. Animals may be present in modified areas in…

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 Much as I dislike hornets I couldn't help feel sorry for this chap as he received a drenching from the three or so inches of rain we had this morning. 

Photo; Justine Marsh.







This is what it looked like outside our house early this morning. The rest of the day wasn't much better!

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Wild Pear

This is the wild pear, Pyrus spinosa. Helman Baumann suggests in his book "Greek Wild Flowers" that " the wild pear was eaten in ancient times in Greece and is still found in its wild state. Its hard fruit took the place of bread, still unknown, for the Argives, just like acorns did for the Arcadians."

Well, that said it's growing happily up past …

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Maralia Beach


1st November

To the west of Chania is a length of sand dunes about a mile long. Over a bridge beyond the new town lies an interesting area much degraded by man. Rubbish tipped here and there, four wheel drive paradise and off road bikes abound but today - end of October - relative peace and quite. There are areas of fragmites or reeds and lots o…

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This little plant is cropping up everywhere, often between rocks and crevices. Just a couple of inches high it is found on many Aegean islands in scrub, dry grassy places and stony habitats. It is unusual in that it keeps its flowers open all night. Not that I'm going back to check that!

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This is a quince or κυδώνι, a cultivated fruit seen up near Ksissos and reasonably heavy with fruit. The quince has been around for at least 4000 years. 

In Kydonia on the island of Crete, which is the origin of the botanical name, Cydonia oblonga, the ordinary quince of old was transformed into the fruit as we know it today in the Mediter…

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Chania harbour, Crete

28th October - 1st November

This is a view of a bit of the inner harbour of Chania, in this case one of the few days that the sun shone. The south side is lined with boats moored against the old harbour wall beneath the Venetian walls. Amongst the boats I could hear a constant pipping sound, just audible, above the crowds - it was "Ochi Day" - a …

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Symi Heron

A rare bird for Symi taken last Tuesday by Neil Gosling along the coast to Nimborio. This photo was first published at Symidream. I've seen one here before last year. This is a grey heron and judging by its dark plumage probably a fledgling from this year. The youngsters have a habit of travelling large distances to look for new feeding grounds whi…

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10 blog posts