A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts December 2016

Happy New Year

An end to another year and the spectacular sunset over Tilos seen from a very cold and windy Vigla on Symi.

The clear conditions allowed us to see far and wide. The island on the left in the below picture is Halki but behind it is Karpathos confirmed by a compass reading and plotted on a map at about 110 kilometres. I've seen this once bef…

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Crocus on the Vigla

Lots of lovely crocuses up at the Vigla. I'm waiting for a confirmation but possibly a new species for Symi; Crocus biflorus. At the very least I haven't seen this set of markings on a crocus anywhere else on Symi but this species is very, very variable and has many subspecies.



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Finding Colour

After another cold and very wet day on Symi I was concentrating on finding colour in the grey environment. Below a row of cyclamens waiting for some warm sun.

Last seasons medlar fruits slowly rotting away......

A collection of leaves and acorns from the kermes oak tree.

And some nuts I found lying under a almond tree.

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An Overcast Wet Day on Symi

A short walk up to Ksissos and back before the heavens opened up.

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A Merry Christmas to You All!


The orange tree at our house has produced just a couple of bunches like this unlike last year where we had 200+. No marmalade making but fortunately I've still got a few jars left to see me through the winter.

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Ancient terraces waiting for the winter rains.

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Winter Solstice

The sun setting over Symi viewed from the Kastro on the old village at 16.10pm today. A bitting cold wind has set in and there's little wildlife to see or photograph at the moment. Never mind there's always the Christmas sherry.

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Painted Lady

Wildlife seems to be a bit thin on the ground while these low temperatures persist but a painted is warming itself in the sun and a bracket fungus sits on a tamarisk tree.

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It was 4.5C last night and blowing a force 5 Bf but not before we got down to Marathounda for a scout around for some stones for Marcia.

Not much about although a nice white wagtail scoured the beach undisturbed as did a blue rock thrush.

The friar's cowls are just coming into flower and a cicada keeps its head down in the strengt…

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This winter there are no shortages of robins on Symi and unusually there are two or three in my locality of the old village. They issue short bursts of song that are typical of their winter territorial call. Interestingly enough birders on Crete and Rhodes have noticed an increase in winter robins and these birds will migrate south when conditions …

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Bonelli's Eagle

A very distant shot of a Bonelli's eagle flying over Symi, but I got a much closer view of it before I set my camera up. Elsewhere a local little owl surveying its surrounds.

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Hippocratic Tree

Following on from yesterday, here is a photo of the plane tree that Hippocrates reportedly taught his medical students under. The tree is supported by scaffolding (zimmerframe!) but is unlikely to be contemporary with Hippocrates at 2000 + years old. Estimates range around 500 years old and the seeds from this tree have been spread all around the W…

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Askeplion, Kos

The 3C BC temple at Askeplion on Kos sits on the side of a hill overlooking Kos town about 8 kilometres away. Asclepius was the Greek god of medicine whose attribute was a snake that he would release while his patients were asleep. The snake would lick the patients and a recovery was made. In Greek mythology and religion, he was descended from Apol…

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Colchicum Pusillum

The views from Stavros Polemou are sometimes, depending on the haze, very good and the little church that sits on a high rock on a very small patch of land is usually covered in wild flowers. The Autumn crocus Colchicum pusillum was showing well two days ago and no doubt there will be other species to follow.

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A Curio of Mosses, Lichens, Fungi and Algae.

A walk in the woods yesterday produces very little in the way of flowers so I'm looking at toadstools which seem grow in the needle litter below the pine trees, moss which grows anywhere where there is little or no sun and lichens which have similar requirements. All seem to thrive on the recent rains and survive the many months of drought that we …

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Spring & Autumn

It's a strange time of year when the rains trigger growth and the land turns green after many months of drought. This is called the first spring on Symi. Terraces are prepared, here, and oats are planted for feed for the goats and sheep in the summer months. This valonia oak keeps to a more traditional cycle of Autumn and there are still plenty of …

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Mediterranean Medlar

The mediterranean medlar is a close relative of our (UK) hedgerow hawthorn and is widely cultivated for its edible fruits which have a pleasant but mildly acid taste. According to my reference source this plant is only truly native to Crete but grows everywhere from France to Cyprus. Crataegus azarolus.

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I've shown this species before but it's such a lovely specimen with it's long stripy leaves and showing the stamens and styles. Crocus tournefortii subspecies boryi.

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The rain has brought out lots of green shoots and a couple of earth balls probably from the Sclerodermatacae family, but please correct me if I'm wrong! The bottom one could easily be mistaken for another stone on the path.


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20 blog posts