A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts April 2017

Pedi Valley, Symi

May 1, 2017

I've had problems connecting to my website over the last few days, so apologies for that. Hopefully things have resolved themselves now.

Some curiosities from Pedi. A lupin seedpod, gladiolus, a wasp's nest, a meadow, and a spiral seedpod from a medik.




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The Holy Orchid

April 26, 2017

A common orchid orchid to be seen at this time of year on Symi is the Holy orchid. Usually found on open ground or in degraded forest edges, Anacamptis sancta, is common in Israel and was so called the holy orchid by the crusaders as they arrived in the middle east.

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Wood Sandpiper

April 25, 2017

A migrating wood sandpiper in the commercial harbour of Rhodes. 

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A Nice Catch from Pedi

April 24, 2017

A colourful collection of fish from a local fisherman from Pedi on Symi a few days ago. I am sometimes asked if there are any sharks in the Mediterranean, so here's the proof, a dogfish of some sort and a member of the shark family. When I googled the question it would appear that there are 47 species in the Med! All pictures by Justine Marsh.

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The Curious Case of Twittering Sparrows

April 23, 2017

Whilst walking the hills of Kastellorizo a number of flocks of small brown birds passed us by at great speed and quite low. With numbers of 50 - 100 in each flock it should have been an easy matter to photograph them or at least put a name to them. Occasionally they would dive into a bush and make themselves invisible. On the ferry back to Rhodes t…

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Easter Sunday

April 22, 2017


At about midday on Easter Sunday we went to the church on the hill to witness the burning of Judas.  An effigy of Judas was hanging on a rope and children were throwing stones at him. Two dances were performed by only women in the square and then the papa set light to the effigy. I have to say it was a very emotional ceremony perfor…

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April 21, 2017

A few plants seen on the path towards yesterday's olive grove post.

Above the pyramidal orchid and below the nasty smelling dragon lily.

A delicate crupina......

An italian gladioli

Above is a mullein, a verbascum for which I am waiting for an identification of and a tassel hyacinth.

This is the common do…

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April 20, 2017

A short walk out of the harbour along the cliff slopes on an old stone path towards the most Northerly point on Megiste there is, just a mile or two from the Turkish shore, an old neglected and sheltered olive grove nestled between two hills. I sat on an ancient tree stump at the edge of the wood, in the shade, for about an hour and and soon discov…

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April 19, 2017

A few photos of the beautiful Greek island of Kastellorizo to start with. For a small island of 11 square kilometres the history is overwhelming. From the 4th century BC castles to crusaders and world wars Megiste is a fiercely independent island community, 2 miles from the Turkish coast. From the Ottomans to the French, then the Italians bombed …

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Cory's Shearwater

April 18, 2017

On the ferry over to Kastellorizo (more pics later) on Friday I was heartened to see the return of the Cory's shearwater which spends our winter off the Argentine coast in the south Atlantic. A truly pelagic ocean going bird (photo: my archive). 

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Forests on Rhodes

April 13, 2017

The Area around St Nikolaos Foundoukli church has a few grass lanes and tracks that are worth exploring. The church is 14th century and in the nearby carpark there are a few very old trees that may well be contemporary with the church. A plane tree and a number of olive trees sit near a spring of fresh running water.

The Giant Orchid (Barli…

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Forests on Rhodes

April 12, 2017

The ground is covered in a carpet of needles under the pine forests and there are more flowers to be seen other than orchids.​ The endemic peony of Rhodes is just one of them and can be seen in great numbers here and there. 

Anemone blanda covers large areas of the forest floor and  flowers in various colours.....

And i…

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Forests on Rhodes

April 11, 2017

The main flowering time for orchids is slowly coming to an end and in this case I was looking in pine woodlands on the slopes of a very large hill on Rhodes. My guide book was written some 13 years ago when most of the roads were dirt tracks and also many of the orchids nomenclature has changed as a greater understanding of the plants described has…

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A Look Back at Some Wild Plants on Rhodes

April 10, 2017

Some of the plants that have stood out over the last few weeks. French lavender (Lavendula stoechas) below....

A goat's beard (Tragopogon hybridum)......

Yellow horned poppy (Glaucium flavum).......

And Wild mignonette (Reseda lutea).......



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A Rhodes Gorge

April 9, 2017

A green outlook across the Atavyros mountains on Rhodes and a small gorge.

Looking up the gorge and down to a heavily wooded forest.

Far too steep and short of time this was as far as I got. I disturbed an Eagle Owl, some where up there roosting, at this point and the shock of seeing it about 12 feet above my head caused me to…

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Steve Daniels

April 8, 2017

More from Steve Daniels about the wildlife of Crete. As always an interesting read.

Click here.

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Gadouras Reservoir

April 7, 2017

Not so lucky this time with the raptors but the cultivated fields before the lake often hold some interesting species. Corn buntings show well here; others include northern wheatears, black eared wheatears, winchats, stonechats, blackcaps, sardinian warblers, woodchat shrike and others.

Above winchat, below cormorant, great crested …

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The Peony of Rhodes

April 6, 2017

The peony of Rhodes (Paeonia clusii) is a wild plant endemic to Rhodes and I found this one high up beneath the mountain of Profitis Ilias in the pine forests. This plant took its name from Peony, a pupil of Asclepius, the doctor of Gods. Peony cured Pluto from a fatal wound and then Asclepius killed him out of envy. Pluto transformed him into a fl…

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Rhodian Fallow Deer

April 5, 2017

Rhodian wild fallow deer. One theory supports the idea that the Crusaders brought them to protect their camps from snakes. The antlers secrete an alkali substance that the snakes don't like. It is said there is documentary evidence for this. Another theory believes that they were bought by the Venetians. There is archeological evidence for fallow d…

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White Tailed Sea Eagle

April 4, 2017

After much discussion from seasoned and more knowledgeable birders than myself, I'm happy to confirm this large raptor I photographed over the reservoir on Rhodes is a sub-adult, 2-3 year old white tailed sea eagle. In Scotland I have heard them referred to as flying barn doors, the king of all eagles, with a wing span  of up to 11 feet I'm not sur…

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20 blog posts