A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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A Walk Around the Kato Meria


Behind the cemetery on top of the hill from the harbour there is a small area of hillside that is fenced off from the rest. Although the sheep have been let in to graze, it is a sea of rock roses all very much in flower. Outside of this enclosure the landscape is very bare with long disused terraces and an occasional threshing circle where the grains where once separated from the chaff.

Other terraces, although disused are fenced off from grazing animals and provide a haven for wildlife. Here, below us are a group of enormous trees set in such an enclosure and I can only imagine that there must be a fresh water spring feeding the trees somewhere below the canopy. I make a mental note to have a closer look one day.


Further along, out of the corner of my eye, I catch the smallest of snakes whipping across the ground only to disappear under a rock. Gently lifting the stone up he very obligingly stays coiled up for enough time for me to get this decent photo of him. It's only then after looking at the photo I realize he's got legs and although he moves like a snake he is in fact a skink. A snake eyed skink or Ablepharus Kitaibelii. And then he was gone!


We pass a couple more threshing circles and eventually join the road that passes the monastery of Michail Roukouniotis where we stop and sit under the ancient cypress tree. The Monastery has been recently restored and is well worth a visit. The road continues up to to Ksisos and it is here that a we find the sky full of alpine swifts. A rudimentary count reveals over 500 and the photo doesn't do the sight justice, but a spectacle of visible migration this most certainly is!


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