Click Logo to go to the MaltaWildPlants.com Index MaltaWildplants.com
Comprehensive database of the Wild plants of Malta
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

What's on Comino in Spring - 22nd April 06

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    MaltaWildplants.com Forum Index -> Forum Members Outings and Activities
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
MWP admin
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 3136
Location: Malta

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 9:40 am    Post subject: What's on Comino in Spring - 22nd April 06

This was the 4th Organised event by MWP.com and again after some days of uncomfortable weather, today the 22nd April was a fair, sunny Day, not that hot for walks.

At 9:10 I picked my friend and Ph.D student in Botany - Sdravko - from B'Kara terminus by car and I, him and Picus arrived at the Cirkewwa 5mins before appointment time, that is 10:00. There was a group of young adults waiting and only recognized Wolf and Lewza. There were also JooJoo (& bf), Kewba and Timothy (& Christine). We were waiting for Elena and her friend Zurrija. Elena came at 10:10 due to bus delays and she had to sprint from the bus to the boat since it was leaving. Zurrija joined us later in Comino since she did not made it in time (again bus delay), so altogether we were twelve.

The boat transported us over a calm and light blue sea and went ashore on Comino at Santa Marija Bay around 10:40am. Here we started to explore immediately this NW area of the 3rd largest (or smallest!) island of the Maltese archipelago. First encounter of something really cute was a small branching plant with bright pink colours. It was the branching centaury or in Latin - Centaurium pulchellum ( specimen 2 ). Another very common plant in Comino found in spread populations with various plant sizes ranging from dwarves (5cm) to shrub-like giants (50cm high) was the Asteriscus aquaticus (=Asteriscus citriodorus) . In Malta these are found in certain locations like Gnejna and they are not so spread as in Comino. Another plant which was rather frequent at this area and not so in Malta was Blackstonia perfoliata (Yellow wort) , an erect small plant with the stem literally perforating the joined opposite leaves with an oval or triangular shape.

We walked few minutes ahead and reached the small Santa Marija sandy beach. There was one or two specimen of Glaucus flavum still in buds surrounded a small population of the Polygonum maritimum , thanks to Sdravko for pointing it out to us. An interesting erecto-prostrate plant with axillary sessile satin-white flowers. This is found only in few spots in Malta.

Actually, this area had quite interesting flora so we stayed exploring here while waiting for Zurrijja to come with the next shuttle boat. We found Cakile maritima growing in sandy habitats with its lance-shaped siliqua (fruit) and numerous bushes of Euphorbia melitensis and Anthyllis hermanniae on the nearby garigue amongst several common vegetation like Asphodelus, Fenula, Anagallis, Euphorbia, but at least ( or at last), not the Oxalis or the Glebionis (I have not seen even one!). Timothy, the plant mycologist, searched among the leaves of Euphorbia melitensis for Melaspora euphorbiae rusts with no avail. Most of the others spent their time here taking photos of several plant species or trying to frame one of the quick and agile Maltese Wall Lizards in their Camera's LCD or viewfinder. Here we also found a Euphorbia spp. which our expert Sdravko could not arrive weather it is E. terracina or E. pinea, both not common on the islands.

At 11:30 we started to cross the garigue and found a nice spot to have lunch. I have seen a nice example of a large pink-flowered species similar to Centaurium pulchellum and we think it is C. tenuiflorum (still for confirmation perhaps by the German botanists friends). Sdravko went to hunt for some interesting flora while we were enjoying our home-prepared bread, including some fresh beans offered by joojoo. Sdravko came with some more examples of Centraurium species for later home studying. One was rather unfamiliar so I, Wolf and Sdravko spend some time taking photos of it in case it is something rare. Sdravko took a short nap here, and probably a well deserved one after a week of hard work! Hope he does not mind of posting the pic (will remove it on request!)

Elena, told us that her Russian friend, known on the forum as Zurrija, was very near and in fact she reached us shortly at about 12:20. We continued our walk over this garigue and crossing the island to the South East part. Here Sdravko showed us an example of Wild Olive but some of us are not yet convinced about it since its leaves look quite different from the cultivated one. Confirmation appreciated. More interesting from the olive were 2 wild rabbits who we gave them their worst scare of their life (since no much people are around here) They escaped in few seconds from our sight. The island is for sure full of rabbits since we could notice the ground with plenty of their droppings. Further more, the fact that the vegetation on Comino was rather poor could be explained by that these are being eaten by these wild herbivores. I think that we were all rather disappointed by the lack of diversity of flora at this period of time, as for example there was no much Liliacea , Scrophulariaceae , Orchidacea (only 2 A. pyramidalis in the whole journey), Fabacea , Laminacea (except wild thyme), Poaceae or Brassicacea to mention few Plant Families which are very common on Malta or Gozo at this time. At least we met few Ajuga iva specimen. Shrubby or spiny plants (eg Cynara cardunculus / Wild Artichoke) were hence advantaged here but thanks God (or the rabbits?!) not Galactites tomentosa - the nasty Mediterranean Thistle. We also passed from an almond which in Maltese is called Lewza; same name as that of one of the forum members ( pictured beside the real lewza tree )

We passed the smelly and large pig farm which as we were told at the Agriculture course it hospices the Ellite and Grand Parent stock of pigs. Finally we arrived at the 18th century Santa Marija Battery, located at the South / South East part of the island and well camouflaged in the Limestone rocks. The Battery was open to the public and one could examine 4 typical cannons of the Knights of St. John in very good state. The doors leading inside the battery were also open both for exploration and imagination!

We had our second break just beside the Battery since there was a nice view of a "double cave" or in more descriptive word, a large cave over a smaller one half-submerged in the sea. On the other side there was a natural rock tunnel half submerged in the water It was also a good spot to take a good group photo for this event. . A cute Maltese wall Lizard also posed for a good photo here. Thanks!

At 13:30 we continued our walk along the garigue just above the coastline, perhaps we meet some interesting, but again, it was the usual stuff we have seen before. So our interest now shifted more towards the nice views of the southern coastal part of Comino facing Malta. In our way we found a palm sized hole in the ground which we think it was burrowed by rabbits. At the opening there was the only species of Bellardia trixago that we seen during our walk. Near the hole there was scattered bones of another rabbit. At 14:00 we reached the Santa Marija tower , another structure by the Knights of Saint John, built during the reign of GrandMaster Wignacourt. If I remember well, there are 14 such towers lining the Maltese coast at regular intervals where their purpose was for signaling and hence communicating in short time (by smoke) that the enemy is seen on sea! (reminds me of Lord of the Rings 2!). The tower is a well restored building and in a very good shape. Restoration sponsored by Din l-Art Helwa - thank you.

We had to make another rest because the cool breeze at the shady side of the tower and the nice views over here were irresistible. Towards the south one could see one of the few large buildings on the island. An isolated large building that served as a hospital during the World War II and now there is some old persons living here everyday. Towards west there was a beautiful view of Blue Lagoon and Blue Lagoon Cominotto islands [/url], with Gozo further away. Here we had the joy to observe a large bird (any ideas what is it) gliding in the sky and undisturbed by any hunter (but probably because it was too high up).



We descended the tower from the bulky fleet of steps made of granite and had a peep over the steep coast towards the bright blue sea and caves pitted in the cliffs lining the shore , about 80m or more high. There were some Mathiola incana plants on the sides of the cliffs, and Sdravko made an interesting point that these plants have a good taste for the rabbits and hence that is why they are missing over the island ground. We walked South towards the hospital / building (also known as a "village", but by no means is a village). However there where some clothes hang on a rope indicating that someone (an old lady from the fashion of the clothes) do really live here. There was a bar , which some stated that is still in use during touristic months in Summer, and also an small and old Land-Rover (1960s maybe) which looked to be still functional. Here we have met a nice species of Orobanche (probably the bean parasite) in the garden of the Comino village!


We walked towards blue lagoon and passed the smallest 3 of the 4 islands of Cominotto , each of these 3 having a window (large perforation) through their core - interesting. Last spotlight over flora was an old and weary orobanche species. Sdravko was too tired and 'lazy' to find out what it really was, but probably it was the Oxalis parasite though there was no clear indication of any vegetation remains in close vicinity.

At 15:45 we arrived at Blue Lagoon and had just enough time to buy an ice-cream. The price for an Italian Cornetto was 90c (2+ Euros) and this is nearly twice as much as the price was 5yrs ago, though nobody's salary was increased by twice in Malta (at least not mine). At 16:05 we left the Comino by the medium sized boat and the captain gave us and the other tourists a small but well-appreciated tour along the caves (example 2 ), (example 3 ) and grottos of the southern cliffs. A good observer could also spot some interesting natural rock structures such as this "ping-pong and ball" example , this one and this face-like sculpture.

Feedback was great from the new comers, they enjoyed it a lot and looking forward for the next maltawildplants.com event and maybe the last one before Summer.



GroupPhoto.jpg
 Description:
Comino tour organised by MaltaWildplants.com on the 22nd April 2006 to explore the flora in Spring and enjoy the nice views offered by this beautiful and peaceuful island.
 Filesize:  170.04 KB
 Viewed:  61494 Time(s)

GroupPhoto.jpg



MalteseWallLizard.jpg
 Description:
Some fauna of Comino.
 Filesize:  130.03 KB
 Viewed:  61490 Time(s)

MalteseWallLizard.jpg



Polygonum_maritimum2.jpg
 Description:
Some rare floral species found on Comio. Polygonum maritimum.
 Filesize:  78.58 KB
 Viewed:  61490 Time(s)

Polygonum_maritimum2.jpg



Centaurium_pullchelum2.jpg
 Description:
The most cute plant spp of Comino! - Centaurium pulchellum
 Filesize:  96.09 KB
 Viewed:  61490 Time(s)

Centaurium_pullchelum2.jpg



BlueLagoon2.jpg
 Description:
Nice view of Blue Lagoon
 Filesize:  114.06 KB
 Viewed:  61489 Time(s)

BlueLagoon2.jpg



Hospital.jpg
 Description:
The hospital of Comino.
 Filesize:  109.57 KB
 Viewed:  61489 Time(s)

Hospital.jpg



BlueSea.jpg
 Description:
And finally the marvellous blue Sea around Comino
 Filesize:  52.1 KB
 Viewed:  61489 Time(s)

BlueSea.jpg



_________________
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}


Last edited by MWP admin on Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:18 pm; edited 8 times in total
Back to top
Picus



Joined: 09 Sep 2005
Posts: 2
Location: Malta

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:43 am    Post subject: Wonderful day at Comino!

As usual there is not much to add to admin's very descriptive report, and the photos really give a good picture of how beautiful the views are at Comino. It was a wonderful walk, the weather was perfect and I was very happy that it was not very hot. It was also very nice to learn to know some of the newer members at the forum, and I think all of us learned from our experts Sdravko, Admin and Wolf.

It was a little bit disappointing that it was already so dry and not as many interesting plants as expected. However, it was still very enjoyable to walk around in this peaceful area, there are not many places left in Malta where you can see rabbits and listen to the birds.

I already look forward to the next walk, hope May will not be too hot!
Back to top
Sdravko
Veteran member


Joined: 02 Nov 2005
Posts: 303
Location: Marburg/ Germany

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:56 am    Post subject:

no need to remove that nice picture.
Glebionis was there but dry and as it is a common plant i did not point it out to anybody.
i think most of the oxalis was dry, too. But it was there and it prevents some nice flora from developing on the abandned fields behind Qala Santa Maria.
Back to top
MWP admin
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 3136
Location: Malta

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:34 am    Post subject:

Could be that there was Glebionis coronaria (Crown dasy/ Lellux) which is very common and flowering in Malta and Gozo, but not that much on Comino as in the other islands.

Same for Oxalis (Haxia Ingliza) there where no invasive carpets of yellow-green drying grass over the garigues of Comino. In arid garigues on Malta/Gozo, this plant is at the moment yellowing and wilting down so it would have been noticable if there was a lot.

Do you think they dried so prematuraly (compared to Malta/Gozo) and now they are no traces of these plants on Comino?

_________________
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}
Back to top
Zurrija



Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Zurrieq, Malta

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:37 pm    Post subject:

…Just to say Big Thanks to organizer and participants of this walk.

My sole journey before meeting the group was asfollows:

The buses in this country are running at their own shedule, but I've noticed the strange rule: the earlier you start the later you arrive But up to a point it was a nice experience as I never went to Comino by myself. When I was looking for a guy responsible for ferry, a policeman referred me to one who was running around advertising Comino ferry. I was told that the group of biologists just left but since I belong to them they will issue me a ticket at special price. I wonder what made them think that I am not a Blue-Lagoon-tourist.

At the boat a crew member approached me at apologized that they cannot take me to Santa Marija bay, so they just explained how to reach it. Luckily enough I had a map of Maltese Islands with me - otherwise I might have got lost as had been never on Comino further than Blue Lagoon vicinity.

First I tried to take coastal path because of beautiful scenery, but soon after I started I approached a fence going down to water. I have no idea what this fence is and what for, but in unknown places I don't take risk of trespassing, so I had to turn back to main dusty road and go first to Comino hotel.

One of the main sounds I've heard in Comino, except silence, of course, was sound of numerous lizards running around. Living in Malta I forgot this feeling, there you have to really search for a lizard, let alone a gecko, a snake etc. Another prominent feature of Comino coast was wild thyme fragrant smell, which in Malta is not that strong – or I didn’t manage to go to Ghar Lapsi vicinity this spring. What disappointed me a bit, that garrigue was already getting dry out. Though still what I saw around me, was exiting anyway.

Very easily I found the way to Santa Marija bay (thanks to map and small size of the island of Comino). Trying to refresh my memory what are sightseeings of Comino, I suddenly saw one of them. Santa Marija chapel showed its tiny belfries through tree branches. Pink Comino police station (Police station? In Comino? Pink building?) attracted my attention by its, say, unreality. Next to the bay there was public camping site, and I solved another question for myself: where people actually camp in Comino.

Soon after reaching Santa Marija bay I called to Elena to ask exact location of the group. Then I went up a small hill and saw everyone.

_________________
Respectfully yours,
Svetlana Vella A.
Back to top
Sdravko
Veteran member


Joined: 02 Nov 2005
Posts: 303
Location: Marburg/ Germany

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 3:38 pm    Post subject:

it really was very dry on Comino but the Oxalis on the fields was quite visible. So i think there can tot have been much in the garrigue. In fact in S. Maria valley i saw some Oxalis that was not dry but eaten. so the rabbits do a good job on that plant.
Good that you found us, Svetlana. Comino looks bigger than i thought.
Back to top
MWP admin
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 3136
Location: Malta

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:06 pm    Post subject: Interesting

Glad that you liked it... keep tuned for the next one, soon (mid May) at the shade of Buskett Woodland (or Forest). For Summer I and Tim might be planning something interesting for the biology orientated members too.

Thanks for sharing your part, it makes the story complete now!

Sincerely yours
The ermm.. "organizer" !!!


_________________
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}
Back to top
wolf
Veteran member


Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 449
Location: Malta

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:20 pm    Post subject:

there is still a sense of disappointment with me that comino was so bare of flora and so well...colorles - consider this pic from gnejna taken yesterday - what a difference !!! of course there is clay here which must make some difference but if i remember well even the common anthemis urvilleana was absent from comino

btw Sdravko - was that pulchellium in fact ? plus I apologize for getting your age so wrong !! ....it happens when you get older

wolf



gnejna.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  307.26 KB
 Viewed:  61410 Time(s)

gnejna.jpg


Back to top
jackpot
Botanical Expert


Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 1145
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:17 am    Post subject:

wow, what a nice pic- in the book I wrote something like..."Euphorbia dendroides represents the Indian summer of the garigue..."- I can see here more examples for spectacular colours of the Maltese Islands!
Back to top
IL-PINE
Premium Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2005
Posts: 1112
Location: Qormi

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:46 pm    Post subject:

Well, I wish to have come at Comino, but unfortunately could not manage this time round!

I hope all the new members had a good idea about the Maltawildplants. Welcome on board
Back to top
Sdravko
Veteran member


Joined: 02 Nov 2005
Posts: 303
Location: Marburg/ Germany

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject:

did not take a specimen of "pulchellum", so cna not say for sure. Not examined the other Centaureum, yet.
People used to tell me i look like 20 up to 1 year ago. But your 38-40 really scared me. I came to that islands for a perpetual holiday, now i look like i can use some holiday from the holiday.
Back to top
jackpot
Botanical Expert


Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 1145
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:55 pm    Post subject:

wolf: you are right- he looks almost like 40 but he feels like 10-20

Hi Sdravko
Back to top
IL-PINE
Premium Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2005
Posts: 1112
Location: Qormi

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:39 pm    Post subject:

You look a 20 year old guy for me Sdravko hehe
Back to top
MWP admin
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 3136
Location: Malta

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:40 am    Post subject:

For me he looks like 27year old Jesus (ref to Pilus facialis)


_________________
Stephen Mifsud
Administrator

{Comments} {Donation} {Recommendations}
Back to top
Sdravko
Veteran member


Joined: 02 Nov 2005
Posts: 303
Location: Marburg/ Germany

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 11:45 am    Post subject:

yeah, a lot of paople say i look like Jesus. But the birkirkara priest has not discovered me yet or i would have had to participate in the prozession that easter.

Hi mr Jack,

when are you or professor Kendzior komming to Malta?
Back to top
Lewza



Joined: 21 Mar 2006
Posts: 8
Location: Zurrieq, Malta

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 4:55 pm    Post subject:

Hi everybody,

During this week, I kept away from the forum. I want to say thanks for all the members who where present for the activity on comino because I felt welcomed. It was my first outing with you From what I heard from my friends, it was a fantastic experience.

The weather was ideal. I don't know you, but returned home with a suntan. My friends at bologna are jealous for this suntan. lol

On Sunday I went to Fawwara. That place is marvelous for the view from the cliffs. Amazing!!!!!!!!!!

take care........

Lewza
Back to top
michaelb



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 14
Location: Zabbar Malta

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:28 pm    Post subject:

Hi that tower on Comino is one of five biult by Grand Master Wignacourt, there was another Grand Master De Redin who built another 14 towers in Malta and Gozo. Another note is that on Comino the rabbits where re introduced becouse the rabbits that lived before there died of diseases and this race was reintroduced from wild rabbits in Malta. Also there was few species of plants becouse we had alot of rain in January and the first weeks of febuary than it turned to be dry months.
_________________
Michael Buhagiar
Back to top
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    MaltaWildplants.com Forum Index -> Forum Members Outings and Activities All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group