A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts : "General"

A Few Random Pics from Southern Rhodes.

Lulworth skippers inside the derelict silk worm factory that is set in a large windswept grassland area of Southern Rhodes.

Yet another snake eagle hunting over the grasslands......

We saw many groups of bee-eaters.....

The strangely beautiful and striped hill called Kefala that I have photographed many times and is always a fa…

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A Last Walk on Nisyros

It is wash day in Mandraki and the narrow streets smell of freshly laundered sheets as the breeze knocks the drips of water on to the path between the houses. The neatly paved road ends at the last house and an old footpath winds its way up the hill to the ancient kastro. Newly emerged butterflies flutter between the trees in the shade and an old c…

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Over The Hills of Symi

A distant shot of an Eleonora's falcon was my first sighting of a returning falcon from Madagascar this year. Elsewhere a kestrel, cretzschmar's bunting and black eared wheatears are the specialist birds on this rocky landscape. Last but not least a short toed eagle (snake eagle) hunting low over the ground.

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Black-crowned night heron

A migrating black-crowned night heron taking a rest on the jetty at Nimborio. Photo sent to me by Peter Dalziel (thanks).

Παναγία Φανερωμένι

Παναγία Φανερωμένι or the church of "Our Lady Revealed" is a short walk through the garrigue from the dirt track that circles the mountain on Nisyros. The round towered basilica is unique to Nisyros and dates from the 10th century and has been restored recently. Although locked I managed to take a few photos through the cracks of its interior. An o…

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Avlaki Beach, Nisyros

The beach at Avlaki is a strange landscape made up entirely of volcanic rocks. The old port has a few derelict buildings, a church and while I was there somebody repairing a small stone hut. The last time Nisyros erupted was 150,000 years ago and it's worth the trip down a long, long tarmac and concrete road to see it.

First the caldera.

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Walk on Nisyros, continued...

Blocked paths are an occupational hazard when walking in Greece, it seems. A piece of land, reclaimed from an ancestor is marked by a fence and the terraces that were once cultivated for hundreds of years are returned to use even if it's just for bbq's on a lazy summer evening. However the good people who spray red dots on stones to mark a path a…

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 A nasty, sweet and sulphurous smell taints the air as I set off up the hill on an old stone path. Either side of the path are terraces just a few yards wide sitting on well maintained dry stoned walls but stretch to the right and to the left as far as the eye can see. Small twisted oaks give plenty of shade along with old olive and turpentine tree…

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A Thistle

A highlight yesterday after a long walk with some friends off the road to a cliff on the southern tip of Symi was this member of the thistle family (thanks Nick!) in full flower. Ptilostemon chamaepeuce.


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Cretan Viper's Grass

Cretan Viper's-grass, Scorzonera cretica, a member of the Daisy family, is characterised by its thin, strap-like leaves. Here photographed on Halki. This plant is related to the species Scorzonera hispanica (Salsify) which has edible roots.

Black salsify is native to Southern Europe and the Near East. The first mention of the vegetable by a …

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Butterflies & Moths

Some butterflies and a moth that I've identified over the last week or so....

A clouded yellow (Halki).....

A painted lady......

An unattractively named "green underside blue" or Glaucopsyche alexis found on Rhodes in great profusion.

The pretty eastern baton blue on Halki above and below wing....

And a "polyfagous" moth, a nice Gre…

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Cory's shearwaters and Dolphins.

The ferry across from Halki gave us an opportunity to see cory's shearwaters for the first time this year since their return from the South Atlantic. The ferry from Rhodes witnessed a spectacular display from a pod of dolphins breaching the water and jumping over the wake made by the boat. This continued for some minutes until they were almost out …

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Pefkia, Halki

Today's trip was entirely random. I picked a walk that showed an antiquity on the map. So two hours out of the harbour up a hillside across some fenced off fields and behind a limekiln on top of a hill we arrived at a hidden flat area only seen by the birds (and google). Ancient terraces littered the site, an old threshing circle and after half a…

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Apollo's Temple

A walk to Apollo's temple and St Zacharia's church. Tucked high up in a valley, just an hour and a half's walk from the harbour in Halki over impossibly stoney ground, an ancient landscape unfolds from pre-christian times through Byzantine to a modern era, just, represented by a few fenced off fig trees.
My favourite moment was discovering the lim…

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Καλό Πάσχα

Some big skies over Rhodes last night with a lightning and thunder display from the harbour on Halki. A tornado too, and although we didn't get that we had plenty of rain and thunder early this morning.

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A view across the port from the windmills. In the stoney field behind a sea of wild iris like I've never seen before!




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Next Stop Halki.

Wild leeks on a deserted beach. A 4C BC Lycean tomb, a 14C Venetian castle built to keep the Ottomans out, a rocky outcrop in the sea with a least six roosting herons and finally Halki.



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I found an olive grove in the middle of Rhodes covered in orchids and wild flowers, half way up a hillside just past a small family church named Anastasia. The sun was shining, a light breeze and just for once I'm not naming the plants..........





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The Barbary Nut

The barbary nut is a small iris whose flowers open at midday and close forever in the evening. Here seen on Rhodes but common locally on Symi.

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Walking around meadows, garrigue and olive groves on Rhodes at this time of year can often present a profusion of wild flowers, not least orchids. The sombre bee orchid (Ophrys fusca), so called because of its muted colours and is often difficult to spot in the shadows of an olive grove.

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20 blog posts