Corfu Nature and Wildlife
Discover Ionian Summer
Amazing holidays in Corfu Island
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Alikes is a designated protected area 'Natura', located in the southernmost peninsula of the island, just north of the town Lefkimi. It is one of the most important wetlands in Corfu and habitat for several bird species. The harbor of Alikes is easily accessible from the town of Corfu by following the main route to Lefkimi. In the past, salt was traditionally harvested in this part of the island. Animal-drawn carts were used to transport the salt from the salt pans to the processing areas. Nowadays, the salt pans have fallen into disuse and became an amazing wildlife refuge for flamingos, egrets and many other migratory birds. The lake of Alikes attracts thousands of flamingos every year and the saline water drove the flamingos to nest in 2012 for the first time. Another spot to watch flamingos is the Korission lagoon which is located within a 30 minutes drive from Alikes. The best time for bird watching is between May and early October. Alikes harbor still operates as a small fishing port. In the area there are a lot of good restaurants to taste Greek gastronomy and a beautiful beach nearby.
You can admire a range of animals at the protected habitats of Corfu, living in their natural environment. Lake Korission and Antinioti Lagoon are the best places for nature-lovers to observe wildlife such as birds, turtles, terrapins and other large animals. Vido Islet is home to pheasants, hares, partridges and rabbits. There is also a significant number of lizard species inhabiting the mountains of Corfu.MammalsLike everywhere around Europe, mammals do not enjoy busy places and generally hide from human eyes. It would be rather a matter of luck to find them, but if you wake up early and plan to go on morning hikes, you have definitely several chances to spot some of the most amazing creatures.HedgeHogThere are several chances that you come across a hedgehog if you are walking or driving late at night around the island. They eat small insects, worms, berries and other fruit, as well as small snakes. They are good for controlling the growth of pest in your garden. You cannot approach them as they nestle up like a ball covered with spikes.Moles Moles spend almost their entire life underground. They mostly eat earthworms, dig burrows that they live in and as they are blind, their eyes are covered with skin and fur.MartenThe Beech marten or Stone marten is a widespread nocturnal animal in Corfu. Despite its small size, it is a predator which can cause a lot of damage by attacking hen houses; hence Greek farmers call it 'the devil of the night'. In Corfu, you have several chances to spot a marten crossing a back road during the night. Martens are generally afraid of humans and are hidden during the day. Other animals you may see are foxes, brown rats, hares, rabbits, otters, weasels, dormice, bats, very limited numbers of jackals, bats roosting, tortoise.Corfu ReptilesCorfu has a typical Mediterranean climate with thick vegetation, which makes it an ideal habitat for reptiles. Some of those are quite common and easy to see in the countryside, whereas there are species that you have to search in order to spot them. The best time to observe reptiles is during the spring or in the early morning of the summer months. In Corfu, at least 23 reptile species have been recorded and the most dangerous of them is the Nose-Horned Viper.
Corfu FishesThe Ionian sea hosts amazing marine life and underwater formations, which create a magical seascape of plants and corals, fish and other sea creatures. Sea mammals are quite rare to see because they are aware of fishermen. Although, you have a lot of chances to come across a pod of dolphins which live in the waters around Corfu. Dolphins in Corfu Ionian sea houses species of the 'common' dolphin. The name does not represent the actual number of the animals but it used because this species was the most commonly depicted on ancient Greek and Roman art. It has a distinct dark “V” shaped mark below the dorsal fin. Nowadays, common dolphin is threatened with extinction. Risso’s dolphin is another species which could be seen around the Corfiot waters. It has generally different hues of grey with bright under body. It looks like a whale rather than a dolphin and could reach 3,5 meters in lenght. Another species is the Bottlenose dolphin. It is considered the star of aquariums. It has a distinctive forehead, grey or black in colour with lighter tummy. The Striped dolphin is the most multitudinous in the Ionian sea. It is covered with dark stripes from the head to the tail.
Corfu could be characterized as a big garden.Orange grooves thrive in Dassia, where the sweet smell of orange blossom fills the air. There are also lemon grooves near Kontokali that scent the atmosphere with a refreshing perfume. In Dassia, you can visit Merlin Estate which was the property of a well-known English gardener who imported a variety of oranges in the early 20th century. This variety was named 'merlin' after him. He also imported the kumquat tree to Corfu which became the trademark of the island.Orange, lemon and mandarin trees can be found in almost every single garden in Corfu, as well as kumquats that are both grown for private and commercial uses. There are also plenty of fig trees, mulberry trees, loquat trees, jujube trees, prickly pear trees, strawberry trees, banana trees, cherry trees, apple trees, quince trees, carob trees, pomegranate trees, almond, chestnut and walnut trees, vanilla tree, myrtle trees, peach trees, apricot trees and many more that you might have never heard before. There are also several vineyards around the island from which excellent quality wine is produced. Corfu's climate favors even the growth of these trees in the wild.Another variety of citrus that is famous in Corfu is blood oranges. In Greek, the fruit is called 'sanguini' which is probably a term of Italian origin. Dolce variety is also popular in Corfu because of its sweet and tangy flavour.Another type of tree which was famous in Corfu is etrog (estrogim). The island was for centuries the principal supplier of etrogs to Jews in Europe and overseas. The fruit has an important role in Jewish ritual during the Sukkot. You may see citrons growing in several gardens today. The Greek name of the fruit is 'kitro'.Kumquat is the trademark of Corfu. It is an oval orange fruit with sweet and slightly acidic taste. Kumquat is a citrus tree, with origins from China and Japan. It is extensively grown in Corfu for private and commercial consumption for almost a century. Kumquat production reaches 100 tones a year. It is usually not eaten raw, but the fruit is the basic ingredient for liqueurs, jams and sweets. Generally, it is used in baking, cooking and as a natural ingredient in cosmetics and toiletries. There is a range of kumquat-based products that you can find in Corfu.There is also a variety of small strawberries grown along the shores of Halikiopoulos salt lake, in the central part of the island. They are harvested in May and have to be consumed within 12 hours. They are sold at the coast road of Perama, which is approximately 7km south of Corfu.
Corfu TreesCorfu is famous for its olive trees. The island has millions of trees and some of them are at least 400 years old or even older. There are estimates that the olive trees might reach a number of 3 million in total which is generally disproportional to the size of island and the population. Excellent quality olive oil is produced, delicious and hearty olives, olive soap and other toiletries, olive wood items and several other products.'Strawberry' Tree. It is called like this because its vivid red fruit looks similar to strawberries. It has long life span and is native to the Mediterranean region. It generally grows in areas of Western Europe with mild climate and some regions of western Ireland. The fruit has a very unique flavor. Strawberry tree-based and jams are amongst the most famous products in Corfu.Other wide-spread trees in Corfu are: Judas Trees, Cypresses, Figs, Carobs or Locust Trees, Eucalyptus, Holm Oaks, Prickly Pears, Kermes oaks, Junipers.Corfu FlowersMediterranean climates are well-known for the colourful wild flowers growing all over the countryside. The best season to see them is between February and May. You can admire the beautiful combinations of the spring and enjoy the nature at its best! You can find more information about the wild flowers of Corfu on the website below:http://www.corfuflowers.com/Bougainvillea is a beautiful creeping plant, very characteristic of the Ionian landscapes. It originates from South America, Brazil and includes twelve varieties. It is named after the navigator Mpoygkenbil. It flourishes between spring and early autumn with the leaves appearing first and then the small buds. When the flower is formed, it has very thin leaves in a range of hues from deep purple to vivid orange. It grows fast and it reaches 2 or 3 meters when it is plant in pots, but it can grow up to 5 meters if it is plant outdoors. In specific weather conditions and very warm climate, it can even reach 10 meters in height.
Corfu Birds Corfu houses over 150 native and migrating bird species. Some of the most characteristic birds of the island are: The Seagulls. The most typical birds of coastal areas with their very distinct sounds. The Scops owl makes a very characteristic sound which is widespread around the island. It is said that the owls communicate at nights with a unique whistling call. The Buzzard is one of the largest predator birds of the island. Swallows migrate to Corfu in February-March and stay until October-November.Flamingos: Read that post: https://ioniansummer.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=239&action=editFollow the link for a very interesting article for birdwatchers: http://www.surfbirds.com/trip_report.php?id=902 Butterflies in Corfu During the spring and summer months, a range in color and size butterflies can be seen all around the island. Some of them: Scarce, Swallowtail, Comma Brimstone, Red Admiral, Convolvulus Hawkmoth, Giant Peacock Moth.