A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

header photo

Blog posts January 2016

Cascabela thevetia


An ornamental garden plant sitting in an unattended corner in the harbour, commonly known as yellow oleander. A very poisonous plant from central  America and very drought tolerant.












Read more

European Storks

The village of Poros in Feres, northern Greece was officially declared as “the European village of storks” for the year 2016. This is considered to be a unique distinction throughout Greece and Europe, since the village plays an important role in the conservation and reproduction of the species. - See more at: 

Evros Is Home to “European Vi…

Read more

Tree Spurge

Euphorbia Dendroides

Pine Processionary Moth

The species is notable for the behaviour of its caterpillars, which overwinter in tent-like nests high in pine trees, and which process through the woods in nose-to-tail columns, protected by their severely irritating hairs. Best not to touch or stand under the nests.

Not a pest here but quite capable of stripping a pine tree of its needles.

Read more


This is a yellow wagtail on a roof in Pedi. Probably Motacilla flava subsp. flava or a yellow wagtail variant common throughout central Europe and possibly a female in winter plumage.

In this case a very early summer migrant on its way North.


Below is a pied wagtail or Motacilla alba subsp. alba in its winter coat and common to central…

Read more

Up The Kali Limni

The walk to the summit of the Kali Limni on Karpathos takes about one and a half hours from the small settlement of Lastos.

Starting from the taverna and leaving out drinking the raki until you return the path is marked by a lone pear tree in the distance.

Our walk was also marked by a group of 30+ ravens playing in a large rising thermal.

Read more


With temperatures hovering around freezing and a strong north wind blowing (have I mentioned that before?) an hour in the hills was all I could manage yesterday.

Still, it was worth it, this is Narcissus tazetta subspecies tazetta and if confirmed from my expert botanist friend will be a new species not recorded on Symi before. 

This plant …

Read more

Gale Force Eight

Not much inspiration here today. Gale force 8 and 4 degrees celcius made for a short walk to the windmills where a very mobile buzzard was flapping about and calling. A view of Turkey and the sea horses.

Read more

Spring Mandrake

Lots of rain, high winds and low temperatures on Symi at the moment. Not very inspiring for a wildlife enthusiast but this spring mandrake seems to be thriving and every flower had a bee in it until I poked my camera at it.

Read more

Friars Cowl

The rain is finally having an effect and the flowers are now pushing through......

Read more


Walking around the footpaths that travel through the terraces is quite a unique and personal experience. It's a bit like wandering around an English allotment. I found myself treading carefully through each individual plot with a great deal of respect and awe.

Domestic animals and wild life seem to thrive together here.

Below, a serin picks …

Read more

Rain all Day (and Tomorrow)

A look back at Mesochorio on Karpathos. The first part was here.

The terraces are green all the year around thanks to the springs under the church.

Fruit orchards of every description grow here; pomegranates, persimmons, ugly fruit, lemons and oranges.









Farther away there are o…

Read more


Popped down to Dimitri's corner shop to find this huge Orfos or grouper fish caught off Seskli this morning. Must be 10kg.

This is probably a Dusky Grouper (Epinephelus marginatus), or Merou and is the best known grouper of the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa coast. It is said to have the best taste of all Mediterranean fishes. 


Read more




The valonia oak has finally decided it's time to drop its leaves, ie it is Autumn.














The carob tree has no such problem being an evergreen. Just occasionally a few branches die off but it retains its leaves all winter.

Read more

2015 review.

A review of some of my favourite pics of Symi wildlife in 2015. Click on the picture.

Read more


I've included a couple of fungi here if only because I so rarely see them on Symi. If I had to guess I'd say the first is an earthball and the last is a bracket fungus, possibly from the Daedelea family.

Read more

Fern Hunting

The pic looks more dramatic than it was. I'm sure ferns are not quite so scarce as this but it's the first time I've noticed one and it was growing in the rock at the bottom of the photograph.

As it turned out it was the southern fern or polypodium cambricum, quite common throughout the mediterranean or so my reference book says.



Read more

Almond Tree Curiosities

A large lump of resin forming on the underside of a branch of an old almond tree. In a thousand years or so it might become a piece of amber.





The same tree below, left to grow wild on one of the many disused terraces on Symi.



An old twisted trunk of a long dead almond tree overlooking the harbour.

Read more

Some Prickly Plants

A globe thistle that shouldn't be flowering at this time of year but here it is anyway. 

Echinops Spinosissimus.






Below is the much branched thorny shrub in bud, thorny burnet or Sarcopoterium spinosum.


Above is an asparagus taken a couple of months ago, but still very prickly. Asparagus aphyllus…

Read more

Clear as a Bell

A clear cold dry day. Turkey from the harbour on Symi.

20 blog posts