A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts July 2014

Six Headed Tortoise

July 30, 2014

This rare 6 headed tortoise I found in the grounds of Megalos Sotiris!

 

Megalos Sotiris

July 29, 2014

In the yard of the monastery of Megalos Sotiris is one the biggest kermes oaks on the island. The court yard is big and the oak shades a great deal of it. Perhaps 60' across. Very necessary in this heat! Against the side wall of the monastery is a much smaller tree or bush leaning at 45 degrees which had been heavily pruned last winter. Since then …

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Short Toed Eagle

July 28, 2014

I was lucky enough to see two snake eagles today flying just 20 feet or so above my head whilst walking in the woods. Magnificent birds indeed.

Below is  Matt Wilson's photo of a snake eagle seen on another island.

Photo: This Short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus) was seen sitting by the side of a road. We soon realised that it was hunting a Caspian whip snake. It had ripped the large snake in half and left some gruesome remains by the roadside. Very powerful predators these chaps!

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Chaste Tree

July 23, 2014

Vitex, its name in Pliny the Elder, is derived from the Latin vieo, meaning to weave or to tie up, a reference to the use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry.  It's macaronic specific name repeats "chaste" in both Greek and Latin.

Vitex, also a traditional plant in Africa, is a little-known fruit plant that has potential to improve nutr…

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"Chaste Tree"

July 23, 2014

Vitex agnus-castus

Vitex, its name in Pliny the Elder, is derived from the Latin vieo, meaning to weave or to tie up, a reference to the use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry.  It's macaronic specific name repeats "chaste" in both Greek and Latin.

Vitex, also a traditional plant in Africa, is a little-known fruit plant that has poten…

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Swallows

July 22, 2014

Getting some shut eye.

Only Found on Symi

July 21, 2014

As far as I know this plant is only found on Symi. Verbascum symes. Here growing in an abandoned field near Panagia Campiotissa. In fact, lots them!

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Peach

July 21, 2014

Prunus persica or the peach tree. Yum. This tree is growing in a long disused and derelict courtyard in Horio. The red bark on the twigs and the finely toothed oblong leaves distinguish it from its near relative, the apricot.

Doves

July 20, 2014

There seems to be a healthy population of rock doves on Symi, no doubt providing a good supply of prey for the falcons here. These are genuine wild rock doves from which feral pigeons are bred. A white mark on the rump and two black lines on the inner wing show these are a wild population. I saw about twenty today. Also a nice collection of chukas …

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Turkish Gecko

July 19, 2014

It seems I have a Turkish Gecko (Hemidactylus turcius) living with me. I've copied this photo from the internet until I can catch a photo of him myself. He lives by the window just a few feet from where I'm typing on the computer. He is very fast and agile and I think he is attracted to the table lamp on my desk that attracts insects in the evening…

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Matt Wilson's report on the Cyclades

July 18, 2014

Matt's latest report on amphibians and reptiles can be found here. Lots of photos too.

http://mwilsonherps.wordpress.com/trip-reports/cyclades-2014/

A Trio of Trees

July 17, 2014

This is Parkinsonia aculeata planted in the road behind the monastery at Panormitis.  There are three of them, one is in flower, one has been heavily pruned and the other is regrowing from the ground. Be careful when handling as it has some very sharp spines.

P. aculeata is native to the Sonoran and Chihuahan Deserts of southwestern United Sta…

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Wild Pear

July 14, 2014

A new tree for me today tucked on the right side of a goat proof fence. Pyrus spinosa or the wild pear. Not mentioned in Marjorie Blamey's flowers of the Mediterranean but it is most definitely here on Symi!

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Ironwood Tree

July 12, 2014

I have walked past this group of trees a hundred times or more and although I have stopped to look at their impressive size it never occurred to me to take a closer look. Situated on a bare piece of ground half-way down the Kalistrata on the left, this is Casaurina equisitifolia or the ironwood tree (she oak, beach oak, beach she-oak, whistling tre…

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Late Summer Flowers

July 11, 2014

A plant in flower on the Kalistrata. Hypericum triquetrifolium or Crisped St John's Wort. At this time of the year most plants have been either been eaten or succumbed to the heat and the lack of water.

Interesting Bugs!

July 8, 2014

Thanks to Ian and Mary Rose for this selection of photos of mainly bugs around Symi.

 

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No keyboard, Little Wildlife

July 7, 2014

After a week without use of some of my laptop keyboard I've finally taken delivery of a new keyboard and can start posting again.  These things take time when you live on an island!

There is very little to write about during the summer months; the cicadas are very noisy; an odd scops owl "pings" at night and the local sparrows are very noisy, roo…

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17 blog posts