A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts December 2014

A short walk out

First venture out after christmas above the harbour produced lots of serins hiding in the trees (totally unphotographic!) and this long legged buzzard.

Soaring in the rising warm air over the hillside he passed us a couple of times............

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The Terrace

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to all my readers. Many thanks to all of you that have supported, contributed or read my blogs and have given me inspiration and enthusiasm to keep writing and photographing the wildlife here on Symi. I look forward to seeing and hearing many of you again in the new year.

The terrace, and also the rest of Symi is…

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Another plant that successfully manages to survive the hot summers on Symi is this clubmoss. This is the mediterranean selaginella and its binominal name is Selaginella denticulata. This plant lives in caves and old ruins which there are plenty of in Horio. It can often be found sharing wall space with house leeks and  Ceterach officicinarum among…

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Butterfly Valley

I looked at the temperature gauge this morning before setting off and it registered 12c. So a long sleeved shirt, thick jumper and a fleece seemed appropriate. By the time I'd reached the harbour it must have been in the high teens.

In this little valley, just around corner from the harbour, that can be walked from one end to the other in ten minu…

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Symi Wall Garden

These plants only grow on North facing walls and rock faces or where there is no direct sun here on Symi. In the Summer months they curl up and go brown after flowering, dead to the world for all intents and purposes. Now they thrive in the rainy season. Here we have house leeks and Ceterach officicinarum and a liverwort.

 Elsewhere Cheilanthes …

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This is the mandrake otherwise known as Mandragora officinarum.

This is a curious plant as it stands no higher than a couple of inches above the ground and can spread 12 inches or more across. 

It has an interestng folk lore about it.

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Coal tit saga.

This coal tit showed well in a turpentine tree and stayed around long enough for me to finally get a few half decent shots of it.

I've yet to see any other tits on Symi although I've spotted a number of different species on other Islands. 






Here the white stripe on the head is clear and is the defining feature of a coal tit. 

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A Sunny Sunday

A few shots of wildlife around Horio yesterday morning.

A red admiral.






House Leek.















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Century Plant

 This is the century plant, Agave americana. Here standing some 15' high.

Although it is called the century plant, it typically lives only 10 to 30 years. It has a spread of about 4 ft (1.2 m) with gray-green leaves up to 2 ft (0.6 m) long, each with a prickly margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce to the bone. Near the end of its li…

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Friars Cowl

In places this plant almost covers the ground with its leaves and sends up a little flower in the shape of a friars cowl. Hence its name. Arisarium vulgare.

This plant is native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and northern Africa, east to the Caucasus, and west to the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira.

It prefers grassy…

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Two species of fungi Found in the hills above the harbour. The yellow ones were under a kermes oak and the white species under a cypress tree.

If anybody has any ideas what species they are I'd be pleased to hear from you!









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The Terrace

 As promised a view of the terrace above Horio and looking across the valley. Ten days ago it looked liked this.

The "Portrait of a Greek Mountain Village" by Juliet Du Boulay gives a good idea of  the farming year. Juliet spent 2 years studying a Greek  mountain village in Euboea in the late 1960's before the way of life changed forever into wha…

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Around the Vigla

 A Sunday walk around the Vigla.

Last time I passed this pond a few weeks ago it was dry. A few short downpours have filled it very quickly. The black pipe leads from a gully by the side of the road above this small holding. No doubt the goats will be impressed (even if it is a bit green).

Nearby there was signs of frogs, sadly squashed in the r…

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Athens Nature Journal

This is a really interesting journal from Dr. Stamatis Zogaris on natural history and conservation of wildlife. He is a scientist based in Athens Greece. 


Nimborio Road

Just a few yards back from Nimborio beach is this impressive date palm. Not a native but closely related to the Cretan palm which can only be found in eastern Crete and south west Turkey. This palm is a native from north Africa and south west Asia and is grown for its fruit and as decorative plant seen here in an enclosed garden.

The word "nimbori…

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A walk around the Kato Meria

This is one of two large terraces  below Paraskevi. It was rotavated  about a week ago and planted, I suspect, with oat straw for domestic animals.  We shall see and I'll try to do a weekly photograph to mark the changes. This gives a rare glimpse into a once rural and agricultural economy that was seen all over Symi.

 The contrast is clear to…

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16 blog posts