A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts February 2017

Cretan Arum

Always a handsome and spectacular plant wherever it grows, Arum creticum likes a rocky habitat and here overlooks the sea outside Panormitis harbour.

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Almond Flowers.

Almond trees are in flower now and make a very pretty display. Sadly I have received reports of quite a few losses from the lack of rains last year. lets hope this year is better. (On another note I am aware that the galleries on my website are misbehaving and I'm waiting for the web provider to sort this out).

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Follow the Sun

Sun worshipping corn chamomiles enjoying a few rays. Anthemis arvensis.



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Crown Anemone

A rare crown anemone on Symi. On all other islands I have seen vast swathes in olive groves, roadsides, hillsides and fields. But not on Symi. Anemone coronaria.


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A Spur-Thighed Tortoise

Enjoying some warm spring sunshine in the Pedi Valley.

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A Few Warm Days

Brings out some common flowers. Prasium, a common shrubby plant and a member of the mint family.

Gagea penduncularis, a member of the lily family.

Long-beaked stork's bill, a member of the geranium family.

And not a favourite of mine, not because of its beautiful flowers but because of what it represents. A tenacious member of…

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An Octopus in my Ouzo

A lovely evocative blog about North Karpathos by Jennifer Barclay. A Good read.

Click here;   An Octopus in my Ouzo.

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Scops Owls

Despite a bitingly cold wind last night and a low of 4c I was surprised to hear a scops owl hooting close by in the village and another responding some distance away. Their status on Symi has long been a mystery to me and although they clearly do well as a breeding bird in the Summer I suspect they migrate to warmer climes in the winter. There is s…

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This is only the second wren I've seen on Symi in four years and in a place not far from the first viewing and at the same time of year too. Likely to be a winter visitor as some northern European populations are known to migrate in very cold weather. The wren has a shy and skulking habit feeding on the ground and in low bushes. Like the sardinian …

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I saw my first (spur-thighed) tortoise yesterday enjoying a bit of warm sunshine and with a very green and grubby mouth.

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A member of the Iris family of plants, romuleas are crocus like, small low cormous plants quite often difficult to identify. On balance I would say this is Romulae tempskyana, the other similar one on Symi being R. ramiflora often found nearby and possibly hybridised.



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Lizards and Names

According to my new field guide of Amphibians & Reptiles of Britain & Europe (Speybroeck, Beukema, Bok, Voorta) this chap has had both his names changed (english & latin) not that he will be bothered much. He's the one that has a shiny blue tail as a juvenile. Now he is a Pelasgian rock lizard; Anatololacerta pelasgiana. Greek; σαύρα. 

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A Snail

Just 10 millimetres long, a snail sets off on a journey with its home on its back.


Back to Symi. After 12 hours of thunderstorms and some much needed rain, a bit of sunshine. And a nice blue rock thrush eating a tasty mezethes.

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Crete Nature Blog

A lively, colourful and well informed blog about the wildlife of Crete written by Steve Daniels. 

Well worth reading, click here Crete Nature Blog.

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Roll Your Own Roof

Roll your own roof. 
Take some big tree logs and place across the walls. Then place smaller logs across the bigger ones and fill the top with brush wood. Add plenty of dirt, moisten and roll till compact. Eventually you'll have a waterproof roof garden. Just refill and reroll every year.

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Olympos, Karpathos

I thought I'd spend my last day on Karpathos wandering around the hills near the old town of Olympos. Standing in a small ravine with an air temperature of about 6c and a thunderous gust of wind rushing along every few minutes I was beginning to have grave doubts about my endeavours. A small stream trickled along the gravelly bottom disappearing oc…

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17 blog posts