A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts May 2014

More Hoopoe

Spider vs Cat

Found this cat playing with a tarantula on the steps. Eventually the spider bit the cat which resulted in a leap in the air and lots of hissing!

Elswhere I was sent a photo of another spider.

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And Finally.......

A Hoopoe!  After listening to one for three months in and around the village (indeed there are now two!) I finally managed to get a photo of one sitting in a distant tree.  A short video can be seen here.


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Crag Martins

I spent the day in Rodos old town yesterday, during which I walked around the old fortifications between the two walls. Lots of crag martins nesting in the gaps of the walls, twisting and turning in flight above the grass looking for insects. Well worth a stroll around. I am not aware of them breeding on Symi, but they may well do. I am more used t…

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Golden Oriole

Received from Sharon Bennet, today.

"Hi Lyndon just recently returned from Symi on 21st may and on our walk from the harbour towards Emborio in the trees to the left of us, i saw a Golden Oriole. It was bright yellow and of the correct size. Unfortunately I only saw it from the rear in flight, but it was close enough to identify. At the time I kep…

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Little Owl

I think this cute fella is a young little owl. He's quite fluffy and went back inside the wall shortly after this shot was taken. Elsewhere a hoopoe has been giving me the run around for a couple of days. I can see it from my house but it always disappears when I get my camera out. He sounds like this.

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Just below my balcony last night was a brightly glowing glowworm. I was not able to get to it as it was glowing on a steep grassy bank in the ravine to the side of the house. The photo here and text has been adapted from the Wikipedia article on Lampryis noctiluca.

"Lampyris noctiluca, the common glow-worm of Europe (see also "glowworm"), is a f…

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The Last of the Migrants

A short walk to the trig point this morning above my house revealed a lone hoopoe flying amongst the ruined houses. I don't expect to see any new species now as the summer visitors and residents are well into feeding their fledglings and the first batch of young swallows are flying around the houses and congregating on wires.

Elsewhere the herbs a…

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Scented Stock

At first I thought this was a garden escape but it turned out to be a scented stock, scattered along the shore of Livadia on Tilos. Matthiola Tricuspidata. I would be interested to see if there is any on Symi?

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Coastal Paths on Tilos

The coastal footpaths are dramatic in their scenery, often perched half way up steep cliff surrounded by good quality garrigue.

Everywhere the low yellow flowered bushes of  Greenweed or Genista acanthoclada scent the air with coconut not dissimilar to our own gorse bushes.

Butterflies; gatekeepers everywhere, clouded yellows and eas…

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Four Days on Tilos

I have much to recommend about a stay on Tilos. The walking, the bird watching and just generally the wild life are exceptional. Hunting and shooting on Tilos has been banned for many years with the result that there is rich diversity of wildlife and plant life on the island. There is little overgrazing on the island with the result that the Medite…

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Black stork?

Possible black stork over Seskli island yesterday. I watched it for ten minutes or so. Typically it had caught a thermal over the island and rose to almost a dot in the sky. Much bigger than a heron, black on top with a white undercarriage.

The photo doesn't help, so I'll never know for sure, but it's in the right place going in the right directio…

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Audouins Gull

Finally a picture of an Audouins gull. Distant but the black legs  and scarlet bill give it away.

Arriving at the nesting sites between late March and early April, Audouin’s gull forms colonies from a few pairs to several thousand pairs. Each pair faithfully returns to the same breeding colony each year, but different nesting sites are used dep…

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Holy Orchid

The Holy Orchid or Orchis Sancta covers the eastern Mediterranean from Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey to Cyprus, Crete and the Aegean. Described in 1759 from Haifa and named "sacred" because it grows in the  area of the Holy Land of Christianity. In Greece is relatively rare in Crete and Karpathos, forming large populations in Rhodes, Am…

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Olivaceous Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher

Another first for me today was catching an olivaceous warbler on camera. I have one below my house that sings its scratchy song all day which you can hear here but can I ever see it. Anyway walking down to the Olive Tree cafe one obligingly sat on a branch naked for all to see. Yes!  They are everywhere; in every bush; on every fig tree; no threat …

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Black Eared Wheatears

Black eared wheatears showed well today above the old village. A juvenile dutifully followed its parent around and kept low by hiding in a rock crevice.



Elsewhere on the marjoram plants that were in flower butterflies were the order of the day. Gatekeepers everywhere in profusion and blues. Again even with a good book I can't identify …

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Rain & Bee-eaters.

Updated 10.20pm.

It has been raining all day with little wind and the temperature has been hovering about 14 Celsius. A gentle southerly breeze and a cloud base of about a thousand feet left me feeling that nothing much would happen but at about 5 o'clock I could hear a bubbling sound coming from the sky. Sure enough about 40 plus european bee-e…

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A lovely shot of stonechats by Rene Nielson.

Pedi Valley


In the Pedi valley the hay harvest is nearly over, little patches of oats have been cut and are left lying on the ground to dry. In other places the land has been left to nature.

On waste ground by the side of the road self seeded wild oats sway gently in the breeze.


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19 blog posts