A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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The Kolechto Hills

Myrtos is a small fishing village about 10 miles west of Ierapetra on Crete and there is some seriously good walking to be had there. This notice board gives you a good idea what's to be had but maps are less forthcoming. Still a good GPS system will keep you on track.

There is a good bus service there too.

I am told that Myrtos was once the hippy capital of Crete. There are quite a few grey haired old men with pony tails wandering around still.







Photographing landscapes I find really difficult but this gives an idea of the terrain that you can walk through.


Typical Mediterranean garrigue/maquis dotted with calabrian pines, low shrubs of mastica, and countless herbs. In the more fertile areas olive groves abound.


The rainfall here is about 20 inches a year and surprisingly the vegetation isn't over grazed badly and retains a good cover over most of the ground.




These are probably cri-cri or feral goats that are the descendants of  the Minoan culture from 2500 years ago. I wouldn't want to tangle with one.










This is typical of the many tracks that have been sculpted out of the landscape. Where there are not tracks then olives have been planted.











Once inland within the shelter of the hills the wild life seems to abound. Here we watched 4 booted eagles fly past.

Stonechats thrive here, calabrian (?)larks, and lots of other small brown birds flit from rock to tree, too numerous to mention.








Here a family of long legged buzzards play with the warm rising air just close enough to get a picture of one.

Visiting in November means we are at the end of a very long dry season, but I would love to visit in the spring, maybe February when the wild flowers are in evidence and the bird migration is in full flow. This is the first stopping point after crossing the Lybian sea from North Africa so anything could turn up.







The view beyond is just breath taking with little villages dotted in the hills among the greenery and olive groves.











On a sandy hill top under a calabrian pine we ate our picnic  and drank some wine.

In the distance you can see a fertile valley full of orchards.

Here there are signs of a serious forest fire with burnt stumps everywhere.









Groves of oranges, lemons, ugly fruit, figs and more. Freshly tilled earth waiting for the first rains.

This is the territory of the blackbird and the sardinian warbler and many other birds. Butterflies abound.








The old fishing village of Myrtos seen here jutting out on a sandy spit

Beyond you can just see Ierapetra.








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