Thursday 8 March 2018

A short walk around Mt Olympus and some serpentinophilus grassland.

Serpentinophilus grassland
It's still winter on the shores of the N. Atlantic but here in Cyprus  there's sun, almond blossom and blue skies. On Mt. Olympus the ski lifts are abandoned, the last of the snow is rotting on the forest trails and the woods are slowly filling with flowers,  birdsong and  walkers.

The Cyprus Forestry Department has laid out a series of, "natural trails" on old forest tracks and newly engineered paths that are attracting walkers from all over Europe. In the car park at the start of the "Artemis trail" this morning nine out of ten vehicles were hire cars ( they have red number plates) the walkers were French, German, Italian and British.

600 year old black pine
I am a week or two early for birds, next month the bird watchers will be here along with millions of birds on passage to Europe. Swallows, wheatears and hoopoes should be here already.

As for serpentinophilus grassland, it's not grassland full of snakes; it's an endangered habitat type that grows on serpentine rocks and soils derived from them in the Troodos. I didn't see any grass in it only; rocks, spiky, thorny shrubs and some celandine perhaps the grass comes later with the summer.

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