A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts April 2016

Persian Lilac tree

This Persian or Indian lilac, is a species of deciduous tree in the mahogany family, Meliaceae, that is native to Indomalaya and Australasia. Often planted in gardens and by the roadside on Symi it is in full flower and unmistakable with yellow seeds. The hard, five-grooved seeds were widely used for making rosaries and other products requiring bea…

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Cultivated nastursiums growing in a nearby ravine year after year despite the heavy torrents of water that run through every winter.

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Above Horio

The view from the terraces above the old village looking down at the harbour.

Tuberous hawkbits growing out of old terrace walls.

Wild chicory scrapes a living from the poor soil.....

An old shepherd's hut stands guard over a long disused terrace.

Scabious like knautias cover the hillside at this time of year.


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Golden Oriole

Finally I get to photograph the golden oriole at a distance, overcast and in raining conditions.


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The Big Week

This is the "big" week before Easter here on Symi.

Cerinthe major, above. If you want to read more about the Holy Week click here.

From Rhodes --Above; Parentucella viscosa.   Below; Bellardia trixago

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Golden Oriole and a Spotted Flycatcher (not)

I spent 2 hours chasing a golden oriole yesterday that flew past my balcony only to watch it being pursued in the opposite direction by a highly territorial blackbird. I also missed a spotted flycatcher perched on a fence post in front of me. But I did get some nice shots of a blue rock thrush.

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Just a blackbird you may think, but this is a Symi Blackbird. He doesn't like being photographed, he makes a great deal of noise and he is one among many. But today I got ya!

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Black Redstart

After a pitifully poor record of spotting migratory spring birds on Symi this year it comes as a relief to find this  colourful resident male black redstart. There were a few eagles earlier passing through and a brief glimpse of some bee eaters and the usual mass of hirundines but very little else. I imagine it's to do with the odd weather patterns…

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Red Hottentot Fig

Nanou Gorge; Νανούς

I do like going down Nanou Gorge, it's always fun and there's always something unexpected to find. Thanks to our friends who made it extra special.

The path is lightly forested with pine trees, Pinus brutia, some of which must be very old, 2-300 years perhaps. In parts it reminds me of Dorset heathland around the Arne.........

Rare plants c…

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A Few Orchids

Although it's been a very dry winter there are still plenty of flowers to be seen and here are two common orchids found on Symi. The holy orchid and a tongue orchid.


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Something Different

An old terrace below Profitis Ilias left to the daises.

And a spider that lives in Gladiolis. Below a funnel web spider.

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A favourite of mine, the tiny trifolium stellatum, very colourful and quite common.

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Gladioli anatalicus.
The name "Gladioli" is attributed to Pliny and refers to the shape of the leaves of these plants, like the Roman sword called "gladius". It also refers to the fact that at the time of the Romans the gladiolus flower was given to gladiators who triumphed in the battle and so the flower was the symbol of victory.

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Geranium Bronze

The smallest of butterflies from South Africa introduced into Mallorca in the 1980's and now spreading around the Mediterranean. Its only food is the cultivated and wild pelargonium. Cacyreus marshalli.

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Little Owl

Once again no apologies for showing this little chap, our local "Little Owl".

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Aegean Meadow Brown

An aegean meadow brown, Maniola telmessia. Restricted to a few Aegean islands close to the Turkish coast (this one on Symi) and quite tricky to identify as they vary from island to island and are very similar to various gatekeepers which have their first brood in June.

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This is Plantago cretica. When it dries out during the summer the plant detaches itself from the roots and is blown about by the wind. The seeds are dispersed in the process. Its a tiny plant just a few inches across and easy to miss.

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Clockwise; the geranium bronze, long-tailed blue, small copper and a large wall brown of the which there were plenty of the latter but none obliged to sit long enough for a photograph.

Peribatodes-correptaria, a moth with the cypress tree as its host plant.

A wall brown......


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20 blog posts