A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts : "General"

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 "polyfago…

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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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A not unusual nightmare identifying blue butterflies (Lycaenidae) for me of which there are scores in Greece and some only specific to individual Greek islands. On this particular occasion they were in abundance and settling on the sage leafed rock rose or cistus (a clue there to the species of butterfly) common throughout this part of Greece. Rhod…

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Symi Wild Life

A long viral infection has coincided with my decision, sadly, to stop adding to my blog, so I apologise to my readers for an absence here. The website will remain live and I will still receive emails over any matters relating to wildlife on Symi and hope to answer any queries you may have. I have had great fun exploring the wildlife on Symi, met ma…

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Season's Greetings

Olive Tree

Occasionally I come across an olive tree with real character and age such as this one. I am guessing it was probably part of an olive grove once upon a time. Appolakia bay on Rhodes.


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Mediterranean Funghi

The birth of a mushroom. On Rhodes in pine woodland, the smaller ones on open arable fields. Lots of rain this year so should be good for mushroom hunters! Waiting for identification.

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Mesanagros is a small village perched on the side of a hill at about 400 metres above sea level in the middle of the southern tip of Rodos. On three sides every hill and slope has been terraced by man for cultivation but lost through the ages with just a few olive groves here and there. Indeed, the village's name means "large enclosed byzantine far…

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Common Buzzard

It's been a few days since I posted anything and the square at Stavros and staircase above it is still the same as in the photo on a previous post. We have moved to our winter quarters after doing some repair work, sorting the water supply out etc. Indeed we are told some able bodies will be coming to start work on the square this week. 

In a…

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A muddy blanket dangles limply over a pipe, its sodden ends dripping into the chasm below. Where once a neatly paved square afforded a view of the colourful houses and churches in the village there is now just the bare bones of Symi, a ravine, pure bedrock scoured clean by a million gallons of water, mud and rocks. Years of household rubbish, aband…

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I am standing on the balcony and watch the storm approaching. Night becomes day; a brief instant in time and the Acropolis in front of me is revealed. The houses below light up and the church on top almost touching the sky. The thunder is constant but still the rain is light, a few drops here and there. The lightning zigzags across the sky from clo…

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20 blog posts