A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts May 2016

European Bee-Eaters

May 28, 2016

Spring is slowly drawing to a close here on Symi and this will be my last post for a few weeks until I return in June. We've heard many bee-eaters this year but not been close enough to photograph them so this is a pic from last spring.

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Canterbury Bells

May 27, 2016

Very pretty flowers and often found on north facing rocks on Symi. Not my favourite to identify but possibly Campanula nisyria and Campanula hagielia.

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Dyer's Alkanet

May 26, 2016

A beautiful splash of blue and very popular with both dyers and bees here seen on a dried out river bed near Haraki on Rhodes in the early Spring. Alkanna lehmanii.

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Life in Minature

May 25, 2016

The main subject of this photograph was intended to be the semi succulent yellow flowered plant, Sedum litoreum. However there is quite a lot going on here, a catapillar (possibly an aegean meadow brown), red moss, etc, and a bit of sheep's poo.

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May 24, 2016

The main flowering season is nearly over but plants have evolved many and beautiful ways of dispersing their own species. Here are just a few of them; the seeds will attach themselves to any passing mammal, including humans using sticky and velcro like spines to name but a few.


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May 23, 2016

I've put this on here today because It's taken me over a month to identify it as a cornflower or Centaurae acicularis. According to my records it has only ever been seen at Nanou on Symi which is exactly where I found it. Hurrah! It has a lovely blue flower.

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Centauries and Flax

May 22, 2016

Two small easily overlooked plants, Centarium erythraea and Linum strictum.

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Eastern Strawberry Tree

May 21, 2016

I overlooked this plant on a trip to Rhodes back in April.  It is Arbutus andrachne and although the photographs don't show it well it has the most beautiful orange bark. 

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Marjoram or Oregano?

May 20, 2016

The hillside above Horio and elsewhere on Symi is covered in marjoram, in this case "Pot Marjoram" or Origanum onites. The two names are synonymous and this oregano or marjoram is one of two species in its genus that grows on Symi. The other, Oreganum symes, is only found in St Georges Bay and is a newly identified species that I have yet to see an…

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Spanish Oyster Plant

May 18, 2016

Since at least the time of Theophrastus in ancient Greece, the Spanish oyster plant (Scolymus hispanicus) has been known for medicinal and culinary uses. Although it has been cultivated at times, currently most of the plant which is consumed comes from harvesting of wild plant. Very popular in almost every province of Spain, where it's usually eate…

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May 17, 2016

No Summer would be complete without a family photo of barn swallows. The fledgling on the left with its juvenile plumage, the female in the middle similar to the male but with shorter tail feathers. First brood out, ready for the next brood.

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Tassal hyacinth

May 16, 2016

The edible bulb from the tassal hyacinth (Muscari comosum) is eaten in some Mediterranean countries. In Greek it is called βολβοί (literally bulbs). In Greece and especially on Crete, it is considered a delicacy and collected in the wild. The cleaned bulbs are boiled several times, pickled. and then kept in olive oil.

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Identifying Large Birds of Prey

May 15, 2016

This group is generally difficult to master in the field owing to long range or brief sightings, variations in plumage, similarities in flight silhouette between related species, infrequency of calls and rareness of most species offering few opportunities to practise. Don't expect reliable identification in the field ever! However a photograph on a…

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May 14, 2016

A mallow leafed bindweed that grows on waste ground and in amongst the ruins. Convolvulus althaeoides subspecies tenuissimus.

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Some Yellow Plants.....

May 13, 2016

A bit of catching up with a mixed bunch of yellow species from Symi. First a fleabane (Spinosa pallensis); Arabian fumana (Fumana arabica; a goat's beard (Tragopogon pratensis); a small bulb (Gagae fibrosa); and lastly a buttercup (Ranunculus creticus).

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Wild Clary

May 12, 2016

Salvia verbenaca, also known as wild clary or wild sage, is native to the British Isles, the Mediterranean region in Southern Europe, North Africa, and Near East, and in the Caucasus.

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Wall Germander

May 11, 2016

Teucrium divaricatum or a wall germander found mainly in the Eastern Aegean, Crete and Cyprus.

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May 10, 2016

A quick look back at some dragonflies I've come across. The first two are from Symi, the rest from Rhodes. Red veined darter, Violet dropwing, (there is another dragonfly down on Pedi beach which so far I have failed to photograph), on Rhodes; - Broad scarlet,  Eppalage-fatime, Small skimmer, Southern skimmer, and a vagrant emperor.

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May 9, 2016

Not too difficult to find on Symi, usually tucked away on the edge of a smallholding or terrace, Lonicera etrusca.

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Parasitic Plants

May 8, 2016

A couple of plants that live on the roots of others.......

Orobanche ramosa and Orobanche crenata.

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20 blog posts