Minoan Heights – Kastro

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Originally posted on Kritsa, at the heart of it all:
The first February weekend in Crete saw the weather turn from snowy wet winter to spring. For us this meant one thing, head to the mountains. Our friend and walking…

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Agios Nikolaos Myths Debunked

This gallery contains 20 photos.

Originally posted on Kritsa, at the heart of it all:
Stand by for shock revelations…. the gem of Agios Nikolaos, Lake Voulismeni is NOT bottomless, and it has no link to the volcano in Santorini.  How do I know this?…

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Bright and Beautiful

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Originally posted on Kritsa, at the heart of it all:
As we are experiencing Siberian blasts of frigid wind and snow blizzards here in the UK, it seems a good day to review the warmest, sunniest January day on our…

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Steve’s Nature Quiz #29

Here’s a butterfly that many of you will be familiar with, the Cabbage White, Pieris brassicae, but which of these is NOT a food plant for its caterpillars?

a) Cabbage, Brassica oleracea

b) Black Mustard, Brassica nigra

c) Caper, Capparis spinosa

If you answered c) Caper, Capparis spinosa, then up until the end of last month you’d have been correct but that was before the #CreteNature blog visited Sklavoi – Village of the SlavesIt was there that we observed the caterpillars of this butterfly happily munching away on Caper leaves and added a new piece of information to our knowledge of this very common butterfly. So now the answer is ALL are food plants for its caterpillars.

I can’t promise you new discoveries every week but there’s usually something to make you say “Gosh! I never knew that,” as well as some beautiful scenery and a few laughs along the way. So why not join us as we stroll around the countryside of Crete poking our noses into bushes, streams and under stones to unearth some of the many wonders of nature? Just follow the #CreteNature blog.

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Steve’s Nature Quiz #28

We found our first mushrooms of the season in this week’s #CreteNature, these edible (if tricky) Mica Caps but what percentage of wild mushrooms are worth taking home for the pot?

a) 4%

b) 14%

c) 40%

A tricky question as ‘mushrooms’ as we know them are part of the kingdom of fungi and the great majority of them have yet to be scientifically described let alone tested for their edibility or otherwise. However the American Journal of Wild Mushrooming gives the following answer subject to the given caveat:

50% inedible
25% edible but not incredible (like the Mica Caps above)
20% will make you sick
4% will be tasty to excellent
1% will kill you

So the answer is a) about 4%, the other 96% are best left to get on with the job of being mushrooms.

More nature facts and trivia in this week’s #CreteNature Blog: Voila – Turkish Delight

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Steve’s Nature Quiz # 27

Continuing from the explosive start of this week’s #CreteNature blog which of the featured plants has an explosive method of seed dispersal?

a) Autumn Squill

b) Autumn Crocus

c) Squirting Crocus

Autumn Squill (top), Autumn Crocus (Bottom)                                      Squirting Cucumber

The Autumn Squill has a very gentle method of seed dispersal; when their seeds dry out they are lifted by the wind and blown to pastures new. The Autumn Crocus, on the other hand, has its own delivery service; its seeds are taken away and buried by ants. The Squirting Cucumber is more self sufficient; those seed pods which you can see bottom right are filled with a mucilaginous liquid and when the fluid pressure reaches critical the pods explode squirting the seeds up to twenty feet away. So the answer is C.

More fascinating nature facts and tales of the Cretan countryside in this week’s #CreteNature blog Sklavoi – Village of the Slaves

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Steve’s Nature Quiz #26

In last week’s #CreteNature blog we finished up in a taverna talking about mermaids. But from which country did the mermaid myth originate?

a) Syria

b) Greece

c) Iraq

If ever a quiz question was designed to court controversy then a question regarding myth origins has to be it. At the risk of being shot down in flames I will tentatively assert that the first mermaid was the Assyrian goddess Atargatis from around 1,000 BC. Like many a goddess before and since she fell in love with a mortal (this one was a shepherd) and accidentally killed him. Mortified, she jumped into a lake and turned herself into a fish. Even that seems to have gone off half cock as she only managed the transition from the waist down. It is somewhat comforting to know that even goddesses sometimes have days when things just don’t go right. Assyria equates with modern day Syria and so the answer is A.

A little more on mermaids but much more on modern day wildlife can be found in this week’s #CreteNature blog Sikia Beach – Frozen in Time

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