Greek Archipelago and Athens 2003


Me and my wife continued after the Peloponnese trip for a week in the Greek archipelago. In the evening (19.00) we caught the boat for Milos and arrived at 24.00 without any accommodation arranged. The staff at the travel agent in the harbor waited for arrivals and helped us to find a nice room just 200 meter from the harbor (25 euro/night for two).


After a good nights sleep I made a walk to the hills east of the village. I took a dirt road north and after just a few meters I saw the first female Milos Wall Lizard (Podarcis milensis). There were a lot of them but in the sunny and quite warm, late morning they were very quick and difficult to catch on photo. After a while I found a nice male and managed to get some photos. After lunch the afternoon was spent up in the village Plake, the main village on the island. On the way up to the Castro I saw several Kotchy´s Geckos (Mediodactylus kotschyi) on the walls. There are very few tourists on Milos which lies out of the main tourist routes with quite few ferry lines. We almost got stuck on the island for 5 days but found a boat on the 28/4 for Paros.


The intension was to explore the island on vespa but I was not allowed to rent one with just a Swedish car driving license so we rented a small Fiat Uno for the same price. There was very little traffic on the island and it was easy to stop and enjoy the less inhabited western part of the island. We found a nice lake close to the beach just a few kilometers west of the harbor town. Here I found a lot of Milos Wall Lizards (Podarcis milensis) and a small Balkan Terrapin (Mauremys rivulata). We then took the road on the south side of the west island and made a lot of stops to look for the Milos viper in small creek ravines. It was quite hot in the middle of the day and I did not have any success. We spent some time by the lake in the evening before we went back to town.

View of lake on Milos © Per Blomberg


This was a very nice day with around 23 degrees Celsius. We had a peaceful morning before the ferry left at 13.00 for Paros. We arrived at 18.15 and found a nice pension by the shore south of the harbor. This time of the year the town is quite calm but later in the summer it must be really crowded.


I did a morning walk to the south of the town where I found some ruins that looked good for lizards. I had seen on the distribution map of Starred Agama (Laudakia stellio)that Paros should have some and quite soon I found a pair enjoying the sun on a big rock. I also found my first Erhard´s Wall Lizard (Podarcis erhardii) in the grass. I returned to the town center and had an easy morning until the ferry left for Santorini at 13.30. The arrival to the caldera of Santorini was very impressive and we arrived at the harbor at 17.30. As usual hotel and pension owners were waiting to catch costumers. We where promised a central pension in Firas but it turned out to be several kilometers from the center... The evening view from Firas at the edge of the caldera was very impressive when we had our dinner.


We caught the morning bus at 8.30 for Perissa at the southwest coast. It is a very touristy town but this time of the year it is very peaceful. We started to climb the mountain for the ruins of ancient Thira. The sun had just reached the side where the path climbed and there where hundreds of Erhard´s Wall Lizards (Podarcis erhardii) along the path. As most there where one lizard every one meter. The color was very divers with different pattern as well. There was no orange color on the traught but some blue spots on the sides of the males. In the ruins of ancient Thira we found a lot of Erhard´s Wall Lizards (Podarcis erhardii) and some Kotschy´s Geckos (Mediodactylus kotschyi). We then continued to the top of the mountain where there is a radar station. From here we walked to Pyrgos in the hot sun (ca 28 degrees celcius). About 10 Eleanor Falcons were flying over us for a while. The afternoon we spent in the nice Oia on the north side of the island.


We took an early ferry at 10.00 for Naxos where we arrived at 13.00. The rest of the day was spent in the nice old town of Naxos. This was also a hot day with up to 30 degrees Celsius.


At 9.45 we took the ferry to Paros where we changed for a catamaran to Mykonos. At Mykonos we found a nice room at a pension with a wonderful view of the slope above the town. Along the steps down to the center we saw a lot of Starred Agamas (Laudakia stellio) and Erhard´s Wall Lizards (Podarcis erhardii) in the middle of the day.


This day we made an excursion to Delos, an uninhabited island with amazing remnants of the ancient city. The boat left at 8.45 and arrived at Delos 40 minutes later. The ruins were crowded with Starred Agama (Laudakia stellio) and we saw several hundreds during the walk up to the top of the island. We also saw a lot of Erhard´s Wall Lizards (Podarcis erhardii) and some Kotschy´s Geckos (Mediodactylus kotschyi). I can also heard some distant sound of green frogs but could not find them. All of the lizards are very active in the middle of the day and like on Santorini the pattern and color of Edhard´s Wall Lizard differ a lot.

View from Delos © Per Blomberg


This day we took the ferry to Pireus and arrived in the evening. We found a nice but expensive hotel close to Acropolis were we spent two nights.


In the morning when they opened Acropolis we climbed the hill and enjoyed the ancient environment. After the visit we walked to the cliffs just north of the entrance. Here we found a Marginated Tortoise (Testudo marginata)and got nice photos of the animal. Later we found several adults in the ruins north of Acropolis and there seems to be a quite big population in the center of Athens.


This was the day for return to Sweden. In total we saw just five species during the trip but three of those where new for me; Edhard´s wall lizard, Starred agama and Milos wall lizard.

/Per Blomberg

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