The Art of Nature

Out & About
This week I'm taking you up to a little place in the hills called Psychro but instead of hiking up to the church of St. George as most people do (and indeed, as we did back in October 2016 – see Into The Woods), we're going for a short stroll down the valley on the other side of the road to look at the sometimes overlooked beauties of nature.

Starting with the obvious, sublime winter landscapes can be found almost anywhere on a crisp winter's day. This is especially so if you have a background of blue skies and mountains, an interesting old man-made structure in the mid ground (in this case a long defunct watermill) and you are looking at it through a trio of stark and leafless trees.

Landscapes are a great favourite with artists and photographers, as are the common 'pretties' such as flowers, birds and butterflies but take a closer look at any damp wood or rock and you will find an almost limitless array of interesting shapes among the world of the mo…

Water, Water, Everywhere

January has been a wet month in these parts. The average rainfall over the past ten years, according to my little rain gauge, has been 83mm. This year we have had over 150mm. It was particularly wet last week when some fool with a digger started terraforming the olive grove behind the house and unleashed a torrent that found its way, unerringly, to the small hole where the co-axial cable enters my lounge. My thanks to Demos Ierapetras (AKA the local council) who sorted the problem promptly and efficiently and limited my discomfort to mere paddling.

Out & About
However, the sun has managed to break out this morning so let us walk along by the normally dry river beds and see and hear them gushing with exuberance. Alongside the Poppy Anemones, Mandrakes and Friar's Cowls that we saw in Toplou Gorge earlier this month the Broad-leaved Anemones, (Anemone hortensis) and Salad Rocket (Eruca sativa) have also started to come into flower. Not that I'm into making salads in this wea…

Toplou Gorge

Welcome to the all new fortnightly Series 9 of the #CreteNature Blog with a host of new features to come.

Out & About

Winter is early and severe this year as the weather system 'Telemachos' comes marching through on the heels of weather system 'Sofia' and now we have storm Zeus. Not that that deters us naturalists of course and on January 7th I set off with amateur botanist Julia Cross and a small group of intrepid individuals to explore the Toplou Gorge on the north east coast of the island.

Flowers were few and far between but the Poppy Anemones (Anemone coronaria) were abundant and there were a fair few Mediterranean Mandrakes in flower (Mandragoraofficinarum) as well as a couple of Friar's Cowls (Arisarum vulgare). Pride of place however must be given to a small yellow job with a couple of black dots which Julia informed me was a Scorpion Violet (Viola scorpiuroides). This wasoriginally a north African plant but can now be found in east and west Crete as well …

Season's Greetings

Seasons Greetings to all.

I'm currently pupating but The Crete Nature Blog will be back in the New Year.

Betty and Bert Go It Alone at Bramiana Reservoir

Hello, I’m a regular Betty on Steve’s Sunday strolls. We were just leaving home when I saw a message saying Steve was indisposed and unable to lead our planned Sunday Stroll. Undaunted, my Bert said, ‘Let’s go anyway, perhaps some of the others will miss the message and turn up.’ One of the reasons my Bert was so keen to continue with the stroll was to see just how low the water level in Bramiana Reservoir, near Ierapetra had fallen. This first photo was taken on our visit in January 2008, just before the winter rains set in.

As you can see from the second photo, the drought this year was, and still is causing concern. Last winter in East Crete only delivered 25% of the usual rainfall.

At the appointed meeting time another Bert and two Betties arrived, and like us said they still wanted to stroll. The first part of the track had that lovely sticky herb called Dittrichia  that to me is one of the scents of Crete. Tatty remains of caper plants edged the path interspersed with dried gra…