A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts September 2015


A low tuberous perennial with leaves following after the flowers which is what we can see here.

These are the cretan biarum, a member of the lily family.

Otherwise known as Biarum davisii.













I found these in the hills above Pedi.

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A wall brown.












Painted lady.

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Yellow Wagtails

Another trip to the island of Seskli yesterday turned up many more red backed shrikes, winchats, wheatears and a score of yellow wagtails such as this one.

There is much regional variation in this species and my reference book tells me this is from Romania and is Motacilla flava "dombrowskii"

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Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff?

Click on image to zoom in. 



Points to note; an indistinct supercilium , a moderately dark eye strip which divides the white eye ring and dark legs. A dark cheek that makes the lower white eye ring stand out.

Willow Warbler.

A very distinct supercilium, legs a pale co…

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Red Backed Shrike


This is a red backed shrike. The barring on the back and head identifies it as a juvenile, one of this years fledglings.











Another juvenile close by with slightly stronger barring on its back.

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Squacco Heron

The storm earlier this week has blown in many birds that have landed on Symi, not least this rather tired squacco heron. It landed in Dutch Debbies back garden and has been fed fish and released at Nimborio. It was reported to have been very lively on release! Good luck to it and thanks to those who fed it for 24 hours!

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Spot the Owl Competition.

Migrants: Smaller Birds



A first for me on Symi. A winchat, in fact lots of them over Noulia working the bare ground for insects.







Another first; a willow warbler.

Notice the large supercilium (stripe) over the eye and the lack of a white ring around the eye. Also pale legs. These features separate this bird from its…

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Booted Eagle

Yet another booted eagle, this time a juvenile dark morph common to this region. the white markings either side of the head on the leading edge are sometimes referred to as landing lights and is distinctive to this species and the honey buzzard only. 

This individual has leucistic markings also which may disappear when it moults.


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First Rain......

Today saw the first substantial rain on Symi since April. Not a day for venturing outside. 

There was, however, large numbers of hirundines coming through ahead of this weather front.

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Dolphins off Nos Beach

Rene Nielson was lucky enough to watch and photo these dolphins just outside the harbour in Yialos.


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Sultry Weather

A long legged buzzard over the village taking advantage of the rising air to gain height before moving on to the next island. Eventually it will overwinter in North Africa or beyond.









A distant eleanora's falcon flies over the village.

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More Eagles

An interesting collection of 20 or more raptors taken by Rene Nielson, again over Symi. difficult to identify but I suspect mostly booted eagles although some look suspiciously like ospreys.  Booted eagles come in many guises both as adults and juveniles so can be difficult to identify, but a great site regardless.

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Visible Migration

Yesterday was one of those days that being in the right place at the right time (accidentally) was a good place to be, i.e. my balcony.

Visible migration is perhaps best defined as the 'observation of bird migration during daylight hours'

First off about 100+ bee-eaters flew south over the house, very low, quick, chattering and very visible.


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A Rather Noisy Local Resident



A walk through the wine presses yesterday produced lots of bee-eaters, an eleanora's falcon, a red-backed shrike but the best shot was this little owl that very kindly perched on a nearby pole.

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A walk to Nimborio

With no sign of Autumn yet in the weather a walk to Nimborio is always refreshing with a sea breeze usually blowing to cool one down.

The slopes below the road are still green and fair variety of plant life can be seen along with the lovely sea views.









The roadside is lined with mastica and these bushes are full o…

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Female Red Veined Darter.

Mediterranean shags

A good sized group of shags enjoy this perch as you will know if you have been on Yanni's round the island trip on the Poseidon.

Although the same species as found around the coast of the UK they are regionally different and confine themselves to the Mediterranean.

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Audouins gull on the left, and a yellow legged gull.

The audouin's gull has a red bill, black legs and a much more sleek body.

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A small group of red-backed shrikes on the island of Seskli. Inc. a male, female & juveniles.

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20 blog posts