A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts : "General"

Walnut Trees

October 10, 2017

An unusual find for Symi are these two walnut trees high up in the mountains. They are likely to be planted as cultivated specimens as they are close to an extensive disused terrace system and at the edge of a ravine where there is a better chance of a water source. Walnut trees can live to a great age of over two hundred years and can have a diame…

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And as luck would have it.......

October 9, 2017

Yesterday we watched a short toed eagle or snake eagle for an hour or so struggle with a live snake in the sky while his partner called and called...... 


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October 8, 2017

A short toed eagle photographed over Symi on Wednesday by Rene.

African Ringlet

October 7, 2017

The African Ringlet is quite a rare butterfly hereabouts, just resident on 4 Greek islands; Symi, Rhodes, Kastellorizo and Samos. It is more common on the Turkish riviera and Antalya. It prefers dry fields and rocky slopes near the seaside and is a swift flier settling on the ground with its wings closed, making it difficult to spot once it has l…

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Tamarisk Trees

October 6, 2017

The tamarisk trees are in full flower and give bees and insects and butterflies lots to feed on this month. The pollen also causes me hay fever too especially when sitting under one on the beach. There are many migrant painted ladies about, sometimes in their hundreds and often the first plant they see when they cross the water is the tamarisk. L…

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October 5, 2017


Not an easy butterfly to identify; indeed one of my reference books lists 28 species in Europe alone. They are butterflies of open scrubland preferring to flit from stone to stone or tree trunk to branch. They are heavily camouflaged and the eye spots tend to be displayed for a few seconds before pulling the forewings down to cover …

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Autumn Plants

October 4, 2017

Two of my favourite Autumn plants often seen together on Symi. A Cretan Arum (Biarum davisii subsp. marmarisense) and the Autumn crocus Colchicum macrophyllum.


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Only on Symi.....

October 3, 2017

Gadoura Reservoir

October 2, 2017

Last stop is a very low  man made lake in the middle of Rhodes. Not really expecting much after the earlier disappointments with migrating birds and indeed apart from huge numbers of coots and the odd great crested grebe and little grebe there was just a circling common buzzard nearby. However there was a lot of noise coming from the reeds  and nea…

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October 1, 2017

Next stop is the Makaris river near Haraki on Rhodes. Much to my surprise there is a trickle of water running down the vast stoney expanse that starts at Profitis Ilias, one of the highest mountains on Rhodes. Looking towards the sea on the beach is a european shag and a yellow legged gull with a backdrop of the acropolis at Lindos. Just the odd sw…

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Afandou Beach, Rhodes

September 30, 2017

An early morning quick look around the extensive stoney area behind the beach at Afandou (maybe 4 kilometres by 1 k) produced no migrant birds at all. The "waste" land is colonised by crested larks (and acres of dumped rubbish) who specialise in this environment where there are plenty of seeds still lying on the ground from the spring flowers. Non …

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An Extra Bit From Strofylia National Park

September 27, 2017

Some of the under water inhabitants of the lagoons in Strofylia National Park.

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A Last look at Strofylia Forest

September 24, 2017

The Dunes

September 22, 2017

The first plant I notice walking around the dunes is the sea daffodil with its beautiful white trumpet and strange bulbous green seed pods. The edge of the forest is bounded by salt water channels and aleppo pines, with low scrub of mastic and wayfaring bushes. Heather grows in the more dense undergrowth while butterflies and dragonflies dart from …

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Kotychi Lagoon and Salt Pan

September 21, 2017

At the southern end of the National park lies the Kotychi Lagoon, a vast permanent salt water area that is important for fish breeding, migrating birds and overwintering waders and waterfowl. There wasn't a great deal there yesterday in evidence but once again I did watch a marsh harrier a distance quartering the reeds. A kilometre or so south lies…

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Strofylia Wetlands Forest.

September 20, 2017

Or as I like to call it, the forest of biting insects. What started as a gentle amble turned into a forced route march in a vein attempt to out run nasty, blood sucking insects.
The most striking feature here is the umbrella pine, stone pine or Pinus pinea which cover an area between the lagoons and the sea for about 8 kilometres. A cut pine revea…

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Prokopos Lagoon.

September 19, 2017

This huge salt water lagoon that stretches almost as far as the eye can see is absolutely teeming with wildlife. More flamingos, coots galore, ducks, little grebes, herons, little egrets, kestrels and a peregrine were just some of the birds seen here today. but the highlight for me was a marsh harrier that lazily quartered a few acres looking for …

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September 18, 2017

In evenings shepherds move their flocks to graze on the stubble after this years crops have been harvested. The disturbance throws up many insects so it's not uncommon to find huge numbers of hirundines, mostly house martins, flying just a few feet above the animals. The sheepdogs don't work the flocks as they do in the UK but seem to be used as a …

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Kalogria Lagoon

September 17, 2017

A sunrise visit to the nearby saltwater lagoon at Kalogria was well worth a visit. At first I was stopped by the Park Police and asked if I was fishing or shooting which I found reassuring, but the real prize today was the greater flamingos on the lake shown here and presumably on route to some new winter grounds.

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The Western Peloponnese

September 16, 2017

I've travelled overnight on the Bluestar to Piraeus and thence to Patra and another 30 kilometres to the salt lagoons near the old second world war airfield at Araxos on the west coast of Greece. I joked about seeing wild jackals (canis aureus) but here I am listening to their early evening chorus from my balcony. I am just stunned. Here is a you t…

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20 blog posts