A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts August 2014

Tesserae

August 30, 2014

A stone tessera panel in a large floor of a Roman house in Kos town. This must be at least 2000 years old and to me looks suspiciously like a chukar! There are scenes of hunting all around the floor. Other scenes show a man hunting wild boar, now long extinct on Greek islands and a man on horse back pursuing a large bird, possibly an ostrich. Thes…

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Praying Mantis

August 29, 2014

This dropped by the other day while having a quiet drink.                                   With over 2400 species of  Mantids, you can take your pick here!

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Long Tailed Shrike

August 28, 2014

I was lucky to catch this juvenile long tailed shrike perched on a thistle. This was taken on Kalymnos, high above the capital, Pothia, near Aghios Savvas.

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Sea Squill

August 27, 2014

 This is Sea squill or Urginea maritima tied to the handrail of the Dodekanisos Pride ferry. To keep it safe. See the posting on the 17th of August for more information.

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Long Tailed Blue

August 25, 2014

The underside of a long tailed blue seen here feeding off a bougainvillea. The two distinctive dots near the slender tail identify this species. This butterfly is a real wanderer found from Turkey to Spain and even on the Azores which lie some 1400 Km from the mainland. In favourable years it may reach the UK and in Hawaii it is a pest on broadbean…

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Mastica

August 22, 2014

This is the mastic tree or shrub, here found on Seskli as a ground cover shrub dotted amongst the olive trees all over the island. The berries are well developed and often are placed in a strong liquour called masticha. Mastichato Chiou (or Chios Mastiha), is a brandy-based liquour native to the island of Chios, and mastic resin has traditionally b…

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Mediterranean Shags

August 21, 2014

A trip around the island of Symi on the Poseidon is a great opportunity to see some of the birds that frequent these waters. I managed to catch this small group of shags just off Sesklia only yesterday. The previous week a group of cory's sheerwaters passed by the boat but I was unable to get my camera out in time; a few of them were sitting in the…

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Olive Presses

August 20, 2014

 

On Symi and elsewhere there is much evidence of a once self sufficient reasonable farming economy. Here is an example of an old olive press on Symi. Left discarded on a hillside called Kato Meria it lies amongst ancient terraces and threshing circles. It is about 4' x 3' wide and made out of limestone and I cannot imagine how old this example…

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Maps..........

August 19, 2014

If you are looking for a good hiking map on Symi, the Skai map at 1:20,000 is as good as it gets. Well marked and researched with accurate contour lines I would recommend carrying this map where ever you go. You can buy this online, and in various shops around Symi. The edition I have is 2009 and although Skai have suggested a new updated edition i…

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Marathunda Underwater

August 18, 2014

A link to Allan Robinson's underwater view of Marathunda can be seen here.

I've snorkeled there a few times and there's always plenty to see against the rocks on the right hand side. Moray eels, weever fish, flat fish, nuns, pipe fish and thousands of little 'uns. The odd sponge etc...and the water is always clear.

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Sea Squill

August 18, 2014

This plant is the sea squill or Urginea  maritima. Although typical of the region, despite its name, I found this specimen on one of the highest peaks on Symi, just below Stavros Polemou.

This plant is one of the few to flower in the late summer before the Autumn rains. Its leaves have long gone and the tall spike of flowers shoots directly fro…

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"Harbinger of Autumn"

August 17, 2014

This plant is the sea squill or Urginea  maritima. Although typical of the region, despite its name, I found this specimen on one of the highest peaks on Symi, just below Stavros Polemou.

This plant is one of the few to flower in the late summer before the Autumn rains. Its leaves have long gone and the tall spike of flowers shoots directly from …

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Inca Cherry

August 14, 2014

This is the Inca cherry or Physalis peruviana. Quite why it is growing out of a wall in a quiet corner of Horio I don't know. Possibly a garden escape from a fruit eaten by a bird. I haven't seen the fruits of this plant sold in the supermarkets here but in England they are a popular exotic fruit. Related to the tomato the little yellow round fruit…

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Scarce Swallowtail

August 12, 2014

This chap very kindly sat on the greenery at the Olive Tree cafe while I was having a beer! It's a "scarce swallowtail", not very scarce around here but none the less beautiful. Widespread around south and central Europe it is a protected species in some countries and although abundant in some years it is becoming less common generally.

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Mountain Tea

August 11, 2014

This is Sideritis or "mountain tea", possibly Sideritis curvidens.                 You'll notice it's dried and I bought this at our local herb shop in the village. Still it is a local herb and one I shall be trying out later on and hopefully discover for myself in the wild next spring!

In Greek "Sideritis" can be literally translated as "…

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Dragonflies

August 10, 2014

Armed with a new book "Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe" I can now make an educated guess at the two dragonflies I have  photographed! There are lots of other species around so it's a case of watch this space. On the left is the red veined darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) fairly common throughout the Mediterranean and can be seen…

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Terraces

August 9, 2014

These cultivated terraces are well kept and maintained. Dotted with olive trees, figs and turpentine trees small piles of oat straw are drying in the sun. This fodder will be fed to the goats in the dry summer when all the the grazing has gone and will sustain the animals until October when the rainy season starts.

 

 

 

 

Here is a photog…

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Turtle and Butterflies

August 8, 2014

A short video from Roger Sharp of a turtle and butterflies from the famous Petaloudies Valley in Rodos.

Here!

Ravens

August 7, 2014

I'm often asked what the large black crows are on Symi. As far as I know the only corvid (member of the crow family) here on this island are ravens. Often seen on the steep cliffs over the sea and high up in the mountains, they occasionally come down to the town in the evening looking for scraps. Here seen on a rocky outcrop above the town dump try…

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Moray Eel!

August 6, 2014

 This proud fishermen says they are good with ouzo!

20 blog posts