Crete's Akrotiri Peninsula
Northeast of Hania, this rounded peninsula, very different in shape from the two long northern-pointing finger-like peninsulas of Rodophou and Gramvousa to the west, has rugged limestone hills in the northeast part, with several monasteries. Near one of these is a very good site for flowers. On the road to the Gouverneto Monsastery ( and past the Aghia Triadha Monastery) olive groves, garrigue, and pastures all have nice flora, including some very stinky dragon arum (the tall, equisite plant which typically smells like rotting meat), giant fennel, wild love-in-a-mist (nigella), and many other flowers.
Hoopoes feed in the grassy areas on the other side of the Gouverneto Monastery wall, which is also a good area for migrating birds including golden orioles and pied flycatchers, among many others. There's a gorge below the Catholic monastery ruins nearby (take the downhill path), and an endemic garlic subspecies grows near the parking area. Cretan tulips flower in March here, Cretan sorrel, Cretan blue lettuce, and a small yellow flax, orchids of various kinds;near the cave chapel other species that like rocky places grow. Beyond the cave a bridge crosses the gorge to the Catholic monastery ruins, the bridge covered with a winter flowering Ranunculus variety.
Endemic mullein, purple flowered clover, an endemic yarrow, sainfoin, red valerian (an annual), and many other flowers grow in this area, with more flowers along the gorge. Birds commonly found here include stonechats, hoopoes, chukars, Sardinian warblers, blue rock thrushes;a couple of kind of butterflies are also found here. There are orchids at the British war cemetery on Souda Bay, and passage birds can be seen there as well.
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