A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts June 2017

Sunset over Panormitis.

With temperatures in the 40's today we were glad to get out to Panormitis last night for a cool drink.


With daytime temperatures in the mid 30's - up in the village - and night time temperatures not dropping below 30c going out is definitely a no-no. The heat has dried the vegetation and the goats are munching their way through what's left. The good news is that I have seen a small colony of lesser kestrels but have yet to photograph them so watch t…

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Predator, Prey

Lizards generally are close to the bottom of the food chain and are a major source of food for eagles, owls, kestrels, snakes and sadly, cats. This one is a starred agama and was caught by a well fed cat who was just content to play with it.

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Scarce Swallowtail

Ascends rapidly on rising warm air with wings flapping but descends gracefully in a floating manner gently using its tail to steer it to a perch on a nearby plant.

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Spiny Plants

Summer is here now with temperatures in the low 30's. There aren't many wild flowers to be found with goats and sheep having eaten everything except poisonous and very spiny plants. Echinops spinosissimus or the spiny globe thistle does well and is a source of nectar for the honey bee.

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Summer Solstice

I like to mark the longest day or the summer solstice in some fashion or other every year, so I and a group of friends went up the Vigla last night which at 617 metres is the highest point on the island of Symi. This view is of the Datca peninsular on Turkey.



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Scops Owl

This cracking picture of a scops owl was sent in by Rene Nielsen. The ear tufts clearly differentiate it from a "little owl". However the fledgling nearby was caught up in some twine and had to be fetched down from the tree and is now being fed by a local headmaster while it recovers.

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Wild Onions

There seems to be a good showing of wild onions on Symi this year. Allium amethystinum.


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Sympetrum fonscolombii

A female red veined darter on a stick!

Olive Trees...

Just to complete the trio of trees here's a pic of an olive tree blowing in the warm breeze and showing its silvery undersides.....


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Pistacia lentischi is a small tree or shrub that has very similar properties to the phoenician juniper (see below). In Greece the main product is the gum that is collected in late summer and used to flavour a spirit called mastica. This is the drink that has made the island of Chios famous. Here it is seen without flowers or berries.

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Phoenician Juniper

This shrub like tree is found all over the Mediterranean and has a life span of about 25 years. It is quite drought resistant and the small berries seen here contain 3 to 8 seeds which are mainly dispersed by birds. The shrub contains an essential oil which is used for many ailments by different countries and apart from the more obvious use to flav…

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To Bee and not to Bee

Honey bees feeding on a myrtle bush and a robber fly feeding on a bee.

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The view from Κάτο Κάμπος on Seskli looking down at Kouloundros and Artikonikisi islets. A favourite place to stop for bbq's on the Poseidon boat that does round the island trips almost daily from the main harbour on Symi. Also a good way to stay cool from the heat of July and August.


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A Strange Clicking......

An odd clicking noise seemed to be coming from our living room ceiling and after searching around I came across these two turkish geckos. They were very close together so I am assuming they were communicating with each other; an alarm call or something similar. They like the dark corners where the mosquitos hide and feed on them. 


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A Great Commotion

A lot of commotion from a sparrow colony as a pair of sparrows returned from a foraging expedition only to find that their nest had been raided by a coin marked snake. Whoops!


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A chukar, with a similar call often rhythmic and delivered at a galloping pace...ga ga ga chak chak chakera..... also ineligible to vote.

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Booted Eagles

Here's 1 of 3 booted eagles last seen on Symi's southern group of islands, Sesklia heading off to Rhodes.....

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A sage skipper on the hull of my new sloop; very appropriate.

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The Crown of Thorns

Euphorbia milii is a poisonous succulent native to madagascar and was introduced by Baron Milius to France after whom it is named when he was governor of La Reunion in 1821. It was possibly introduced to the Middle East in ancient times and the plant is also found in Kerala in India where a Jewish community brought it from Israel. Legend says it …

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20 blog posts