A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts : "crete"

Gorge of the dead

Κάτω Ζάκρος
With names like "Dead's Gorge" and "Death Gorge" (sic) I thought it must be worth paying a visit so off I went and arrived at Kato Zakros in eastern Crete an hour later. I imagined a terrain so difficult that anyone who enters never comes out alive, either by getting lost or by dying of thirst and starvation and then having o…

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Eastern Crete.

Rugged hills, green valleys and semi deserted villages might be a good description of eastern Crete. But the soil types and the height of the mountains provide for a very varied range of wildlife.

Stonechats seem to thrive on undisturbed ground....

A long legged buzzard mobbed by a raven.

An overwintering ruddy shelduck browsin…

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Vai, Crete

 A unique Cretan palm forest growing in a sandy valley close to the shore in Eastern Crete. Once thought to be the result of discarded pips left by the Egyptian soldiers of Ptolemy Philomater, or the allied troops of Mithradates of Pontus .. or even by Saracen pirates and invaders. These plants were once endemic to Crete and this place is one of th…

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Griffon Vulture

As a birder, I occasionally get to see a bird that makes my year, not just my day and this is it. I read about them in school biology text books and I've watched them on countless TV wildlife programs. In this case a griffon vulture, one of 300+ individuals on the island of Crete. Now in decline because of roads and disturbance by man, better veter…

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Kastelli Beach and rain

The thunder and lightning have finally come with copious amounts of rain so a reflection of a few seashore plants from Kastelli  on Crete. The sea daffodil that I have talked about elsewhere; sea holly (Eryngium maritime) which is also a British native which "we call it aftastos....when you grind the stamps without the spikes..and mix it with sal…

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More Springs.

Well, after being promised rain for the last two days nothing has occurred. Lots of lightning in the night, but I'm reminded that there are places where water still runs freely regardless of the weather. A spring well built in 1520 by the Venetians in Kastelli on Crete and still going strong.

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Bright Colours

Looking forward to some storms that are promised for next week to alleviate the drought and supply water to the citrus fruits and olive trees that are struggling this year. In the meantime here are some colourful non native flowers to be found in the Botanical Gardens on Crete a month ago.

Not forgetting a few bee-hives.


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Kri Kri

The feral goat of Crete and found nowhere else in the world and therefore endemic to Crete. Thought to have been brought from Asia by the Minoan civilisation many thousands of years ago and confirmed by genetic matches to bones in archaeological  sites, these goats represent a snapshot in time of an ancient domestic species. Now protected by law …

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The Hand of Buddha

"The Hand of Buddha" was brought over by Alexander the Great to the Mediterranean in 325BC and placed as an offering in temples. The fingered citron is now used medicinally and as an insecticide among other uses. (Crete Botannical Gardens)

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This is Cyclamen graecum subsp graecum and is a native plant found all over Southern Greece, Crete and the Aegean islands. It is highly prized for its variable leaf forms and is an Autumn flower, here seen on Crete.

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More Butterflies

From the botanical gardens of Crete. A long- tailed blue and a Cleopatra. A speckled wood, last, at Kastelli beach.


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Plain Tiger

This common, colourful butterfly is an African migrant found on the shores of the Mediterranean from Spain to Cyprus. Here found on some waste land in northern Crete in the Kastelli area. Danaus chrysippus.


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12 blog posts