Nisyros: wildlife, meet the residents

In comparison with dry ‘hot rocks’ like Symi, the rich volcanic soils of Nisyros support very varied vegetation which in turn supports many species of fauna.  The vegetation is largely crisped up by this time of year and so there is less to see than in spring and early summer but it’s still worth keeping your eyes open.

However, some just defy photography unless you are prepared to set up hides and wait …. and wait.  Chukkas, or Rock Partridges, sit motionless and completely camouflaged until they suddenly panic and fly off from almost under your feet, winging rapidly downwards and away with much flapping and panic-stricken squawking.   Eleanora’s Falcons, significantly fewer this year, swoop erratically high overhead as they pick off insects on the wing as do the Alpine Swifts.  As on Tilos the Bonelli’s Eagles seem to have left Nisyros, maybe because the number of chukkas have reduced to a level which cannot sustain them, a paucity made more poignant by the arrival of hunters at the start of ‘open season’ this weekend set to go out and shoot what few remain.

Though I can’t bring myself to photograph them, as always very much in evidence are flocks of Hooded Crows, raucous creatures. The occasional pair of their larger cousins the ravens croink overhead.  Within the town, still plentiful are house sparrows.  Sarah of ‘The Sleepy Sparrow’ blog would be in her element: http://thesleepysparrow.blogspot.gr/

However, I have managed a few photos of the wildlife.

Apart from the two snakes I saw on the first day I haven’t seen any more despite careful scrutiny in areas where I have seen and photographed them before.

One of the two snakes spotted on the first day

One of the two snakes spotted on the first day

Lizards too seem fewer in number but that may just be a response to the few numbers of spiders compared with early summer.  The up-side of the reduction in spiders is that there are fewer high-tensile webs stretched taut across the paths to wrap round my head and stick in my beard.

Not sure which way to go

Not sure which way to go

A fluorescent green tale doesn't help with the camouflage

A fluorescent green tail doesn’t help with the camouflage

Climbing up into the Parletia crags

Climbing up into the Parletia crags

.... come any closer and I'm out of here!

…. come any closer and I’m out of here!

Dragonflies are fewer in number than earlier in the summer but still perch on the tops of dry sticks.

I still don't know why they sit on the top of dry sticks

I still don’t know why they sit on the top of dry sticks

Head-on they look ferocious

Head-on they look ferocious

Butterflies flit everywhere, near invisible when they settle:

'Scarce Swallowtails' seem to be becoming scarcer

‘Scarce Swallowtails’ seem to be becoming scarcer

A bit easier to spot

A bit easier to spot

Bright red in flight but changing dramatically the moment it lands

Bright red in flight but changing dramatically the moment it lands

This one explored my ankle while I was considering exploring a cave

This one explored my ankle while I was considering exploring a cave

Many of the old houses built under the agricultural terraces have colonies of bats but difficult to photograph without disturbing.

Bat colony: taken without flash so as not to disturb them

Bat colony: taken without flash so as not to disturb them

….. and then there is the odd surprise.

Strolling down the drive ....

Strolling down the drive ….

... leaving four bemused cats in it's wake

… leaving four bemused cats in it’s wake

... then doing its kerb drill

… then doing its kerb drill

... before crossing the road while I stopped the traffic

… before crossing the road while I stopped the traffic

x

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2 Responses to Nisyros: wildlife, meet the residents

  1. sarahsquall says:

    Just to let you know, whilst you amble about in the heat with lizards and tortoises, it is totally wild here, blowin’ an hooley and lashing with rain. Birds are swinging on the feeders like trapeze artists. Enjoy! Sarah

  2. BarryH says:

    September is brilliant in Greece as you know. It extends the Great British Summer by at least a month, sometimes more if the aforementioned GBS fails to appear at all. Sorry to rub it in but walking is perfect at the moment with hot sun and cool breeze to take the edge off it.

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