A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts March 2014

Freshwater Pond

A rare freshwater pond at an old farmstead above Pedi. It took us a good hour or more to walk to this place that sits on a saddle between two valleys but it was well worth it. I am told it does not dry out in the summer and I could well believe that. It looks very deep in the centre and I was also told that there were fish. Well not today but there…

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More Pics from The Kato Meria


More pics from around the Kato Meria.

The ancient cypress tree at Michail Roukouniotis

Wild flower meadow

Wild flowers

Cultivated terraces probably growing oats for feeding goats and sheep later in the summer during the dry season.

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A Walk Around the Kato Meria


Behind the cemetery on top of the hill from the harbour there is a small area of hillside that is fenced off from the rest. Although the sheep have been let in to graze, it is a sea of rock roses all very much in flower. Outside of this enclosure the landscape is very bare with long disused terraces and an occasional threshing circle where …

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Monday 24th March

Thanks to Marcia Whitworth for this picture. Two dolphin fins shown here just off Harani; she reports she saw at least six dolphins and two calves.

It is difficult to identify the species but a good possibility is the bottle nosed dolphin which have several breeding grounds and a stable population in the Adriatic sea. For more i…

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The valley that leads down to St Vasilios is covered in a sea of flowering sage plants at this time of year. The aroma wafting up from the plants fills the air and in the still air conditions all that can be heard is the humming of bees.

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No photos today, but a swim in the sea at Lapathos bay on the west side of Symi disturbed a Kingfisher! By the time I'd got out it had long gone, just a flash of blue and a bit of high pitched piping as it flew around to the next bay gave it away. I've heard many reports of Kingfishers here on Symi but until today they have proved elusive. 

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Orchids and Blackbirds

On the plateau behind the harbour every blackbird seemed to be singing. This one dared showed itself and I caught it in mid song. Nearby on a piece of waste ground a small group of orchids were in full flower. Easily overlooked, some eight inches tall, these purple long lipped serpias reveal their beauty under closer examination. Else where I came …

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Alpine Swifts

Lots of alpine swifts flying high above the Pedi valley. A snake eagle being mobbed by a kestrel and this little fellow sunning himself on a wall.......

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Snake eagle

A snake eagle (short toed eagle) enjoying the rising air over a Symi hill in the setting sun.

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A Rock Garden

 I love the way these plants cling to a man made limestone wall. Nourished by the winter's rain they are thriving at the moment. In a month or so, after flowering, some will curl up into a tight ball to conserve moisture under the fierce Symi heat, others will shrivel up and some will die until next the next rain in October. You will only find the…

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Fresh Water Spring

A rare fresh water spring on Symi. Over the spring sits St Thomas chapel at Pedi and today a low tide (all of 12") shows clearly the water flowing out into the sea. A small collecting pond sits against the chapel and a number of fish species seem to spend time here, come summer or winter. Today it is cloudy and grey with the promise of rain later, …

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I've been sent this impressive photo of a caterpillar from last September and I've no idea what it would become. Any ideas anybody?

19 march; update Apparently this is the caterpillar of the Oleander Hawkmoth. Thanks to Roger Sharp for the video and Chris Sharp for the photo.


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Coming home today a friend (thanks Rhiannan) pointed out a small snake crossing the path in front of us. Barely 12cm long and with beautiful markings on its head, this is a Dwarf snake or Eirenis Modestus. This is last year's young and will grow to about 30cm when mature. Its diet consists of spiders, insects, centipedes, scorpions and small lizard…

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The House Leek

The following is an excerpt by Gwen Drews from a web site called “North Star Herbals” (with permission).

“The House Leek, most commonly known as “Hens and Chickens”, may look like a humble little ground cover plant but its appearance betrays it’s rather noble history. The Greeks believed it was a gift from the god Jupiter to protect against …

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Swallows and House Martins

I spotted my first swallows of the season today or rather heard them chattering high in the sky over the village. A steady procession has been going on all afternoon with small groups of a dozen or so passing overhead and occasionally a few have taken the time to dart in and out of the ruins catching the odd insect here and there that has hatched …

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Yellow legged gulls.

Not a particularly good photo of a yellow legged gull, I'll admit, but it does at least show off its yellow legs. There were six at the head of the harbour this afternoon all flying low and occasionally dipping into the water. Usually there are just one or two constantly patrolling the harbour perimeter looking for titbits but today was unusual in …

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Sunshine at last!

Behind the boatyard at Hirani is a small valley which is left pretty much to its own devices. Today impressive coloured Black Redstart males sit on top of rocks in their impressive breeding plumage flirting with females. Even the Sardinian warblers are showing  themselves in the sunshine instead of their usual skulking behaviour where they often lu…

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 It looks like rain all day here on Symi so a day in doors. Well that didn't deter this asiatic tarantula, showing itself briefly from behind a cupboard. I'm not sure I'm too happy about this but I understand he's harmless at least.

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A spur thighed tortoise taking advantage of the warm spring sunshine up in the mountains of Symi a few days ago.

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19 blog posts