A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts August 2015

Common Purslane

August 24, 2015

This is common purslane or Portulaca oleracea, not native to Symi but growing out of a freshly replanted hibiscus pot. So it either came in with the compost or a bird has deposited a seed while drinking from the water bowl above it.

Seen as a common weed all over the world it is in fact quite edible as a salad. A little bit of colour after thr…

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Mushrooms in August?

August 22, 2015

A little bit unusual growing out of a large clay pot that houses a lemon tree. After all it is 30C and high summer. 

Looks to me like a parasol mushroom but I wouldn't swear to it! It is also has an interesting yellow tinge to it that doesn't show up on the photo.

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The Turkish Gecko in Our Sink

August 21, 2015

Well, we don't see them very often except at the height of the summer, so here is one again. Last time it was trying to match the black of the coving on the ceiling, here he is trying out a copper colour!

(photo, Justine)

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Possible Black Storks

August 20, 2015

Coming back from Rhodes yesterday evening just after sunset we caught sight of about a dozen large black birds flying about a hundred feet above the water's surface. Heading towards Rhodes, I guess their wing span was about 1.5m - 2m and importantly their wing tips were broad with "fingers" protruding. Likely to be black storks but the light was fa…

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Portugal Laurel

August 19, 2015

The long racemes of creamy white flowers hang down off this lovely tree. The Portugal laurel (Prunus lusitanica) is a shrub or tree found mainly in Spain and Portugal but here on Symi would have been planted as shade or for decorative purposes. The flowers attract large numbers of bees and hornets and in the spring these insects will attract mi…

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Life in an Old Ruin

August 18, 2015

A valonia oak now covers the area outside this old ruin. As it is growing out of the wall I suspect it is accidental and not deliberately planted for shade.

In the main living area a wave of thistles partially cover the floor. At the other end there are slots in the wall where a mousandra would …

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Grapes

August 17, 2015


Vines are often grown as sun shade over a courtyard and in this case are quite productive and I suspect very succulent!

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The Fig

August 16, 2015

A ripe fig (Ficus carica). Native to the Eastern Mediterranean, the cultivated form has no male flowers and the fruits ripen without fertilisation. In contrast the wild species bears both male and female flowers. More info here.

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Castor Oil Plant

August 15, 2015

This is a bold and handsome shrub, seen mostly on waste ground and roadsides. The red female stigmas hang down in panicles. The plant is highly poisonous and the oil from seeds has to be refined before it is safe use. Ricinus communis. 

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The Pomegranate Tree

August 14, 2015

“And her sweet red lips on these lips of mine
Burned like the ruby fire set
In the swinging lamp of a crimson shrine,
Or the bleeding wounds of the pomegranate,
Or the heart of the lotus drenched and wet
With the spilt-out blood of the rose-red wine.” 

Oscar Wilde

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Blue Rock Thrush

August 13, 2015

I photographed this rather scruffy juvenile rock thrush while perched on an old ruin in Horio. 

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Booted Eagle

August 12, 2015

I captured this booted eagle this morning flying over Horio. Not so much flying but soaring in the rising air up over the hillside and away south, eventually to Africa.

Almost certainly passing through on migration, it could have come anywhere from Ukraine to Turkey and all countries nearby. The "hand" has six fingers, although the first finger i…

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Thistles

August 11, 2015

Two more thistles that have managed to avoid being grazed by hungry goats, no rain and the summer heat. 

Echinops spinosissimus subsp bithynicus Picnomon acarna

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Flat Topped Carline Thistle

August 10, 2015

Or the equally well named Carlina corymbosa subsp corymbosa! 

Either way a prickly customer that manages to flower in the heat of the summer (have I mentioned the heat before!).

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Bouganvillea

August 9, 2015

Even the bouganvillea wilts in the mid-day sun, but none-the-less gives a spectacular display.

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Lizards

August 8, 2015

 

One animal that does appreciate the heat is this young Oertzeni's lizard with its brightly coloured tail. It loses this marking as an adult, but this one seemed very interested in a dead bee lying nearby.

Anatololacerta oertzeni.

Another common lizard is this starred agama (Laudakia stelio) enjoying the early…

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Shearwaters

August 2, 2015

 

A trip over to Rhodes from Symi last Wednesday produced several hundred shearwaters. Once again no camera but the Diagoras sailed through a large raft - 100 + - of yelkouan shearwaters (similar to manx shearwaters). Amongst these birds were the much larger cory's shearwaters (pictured) distinctive by their large wingspan of 120cm almost t…

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17 blog posts