Matt Wilson wanted to do a final bit of herping before he throws himself into his new teaching job. So I picked him up at 10 and because it was drizzling and dull we headed for a Slow Worm site. We quickly found 5 including a big gravid female. From here we went up onto the moors where I quickly spotted a Grass Snake followed by a Female Adder a couple of yards away. Alan Heeley and chums turned up and then Matt spotted a new born Adder and then between us we found 7 more. I found another female Grass Snake, we spotted another female Adder and Alan nearly stood on a male. Alan showed us his favourite spot for Lizards and indeed we saw about 10. There were also a few interesting insect sightings. All in all one of the best late summer herping days to date.
I realised the other day that I've only seen one Grass Snake this year, so I headed out the other day with the intention of correcting that. I managed to find 3 although 2 had the old ready to shed blue eye. I've also seen the first new born lizard of the year, plus a few palmates and common toad.
On Friday night I took Liam Russell to see the local population of Midwife Toads Alytes obstetricans. Again thanks to Alan Mosley for allowing us to search through his garden. Conditions were damp so ideal and there seemed to be more than usual calling, maybe as a result of a couple of mild winters and good summers. This time we found a couple of males carrying eggs, one fairly new and the second with well developed tadpoles inside complete with visable eyes. There were also a few common frogs and a common toad.
From June 14th to 28th, a team of Matt Wilson, Liam Russell and myself did a full on herping trip to the Greek Islands of Ios, Sikinos, Milos and Santorini. The weather was hot and sunny for the full 2 weeks, thus searches were suspended by 11am and resumed again once it had cooled down, this meant we could do some beach lounging and swimming in the hottest part of the day. We managed 7 species of snake, 6 species of lizard, 1 terrapin and 1 frog which is a full house of species, snake eyed skink was the only species not photographed (seen by Liam).
Ios 15th - 21st
A stressful flight from Manchester to Athens, we had 1 hour 15 mins to make a connection to Santorini and the first flight was late. Like a scene from the Fast Show we were running through Athens airport and made the connection by the skin of our teeth. Then straight onto the ferry to Ios ticking off Cory's and Mediterranean Shearwater . Quickly chucking our stuff in the apartment and straight out into the field. Kotchy's Gecko and Erhard's Wall Lizard were soon seen, then after a hour or so Matt caught an adult 4 Lined Snake which was a very dark individual at about 120-140cm. This was a surprise because it was very warm and these snakes normally avoid the hottest part of the day. Later that evening a male Blue Rock Thrush sang near the balcony of our apartment. Over the next few days we ticked off an array of species, we found a couple of the very scarce Green Lizard which had grey/blue flanks and found a very nice spring containing Water Frogs, both these could be a subspecies as very little work has been done on the herpetofauna of Ios. A total of 5 living and 1 DOR Sand Boas were found, Turkish Gecko. Birds included Eleonora's Falcon, Buzzard, Raven, Chukar and Woodchat Shrike and a few pairs of Black Eared Wheatear.
Having now found God Matt prays for a safe ferry crossing.
Rico The apartments resident dog
Med (Youkuan) Shearwater
Female Erhard's Wall Lizard
If only Matt Wilson found it this easy.
Selection of Males one Above and Below
Nice dark 4 Lined Snake
New herping partner
Ios Green Lizard Male and probable female below
Green Lizard Habitat
Matt stalking a lizard
Ios Water Frog
3 different Sand Boas
Black Eared Wheatear
Male Blue Rock Thrush
Chukar and Chicks
Red Rumped Swallow
Just a short ferry crossing from Ios we spent one night on this sparsely habited Island which seemed the driest and hottest. Here there were lots of Kotchy's and Turkish Geckos plus Erhard's Wall Lizard. We also found a very nice male NoseHorned Viper, the snakes on these Islands are much smaller than those found in other parts of Greece and of a slighter build. There were a lot of Eleonora's Falcons with about 7 in the air at the same time.
Male Snozzel Horn
Milos 21st to 27th
We spent 6 days on Milos and found all of our target species again with morning and evening searches. First snake up was a lovely Leopard Snake spotted by Liam which he was really chuffed with as it was a new species for him, it was a real pain to photograph it just wouldn't stay still. Following on from this we found my first new snake species of the trip, a well marked sub-adult Milos Viper and much easier to photograph. The next day we visited the only freshwater on the island (it did not look fresh). Here we saw a few Milos Green Lizards which were a bit shy for photography and a few new species of birds.
Striped Morph Leopard Snake
Milos Water Frog
Juvenile Night Heron
Matt said he knew of a good spot to photograph the usually shy Milos Wall Lizard which I've wanted to see ever since I first saw an illustration of them. Sure enough they were good value for money.
Female maybe gravid hence yellow throat
Juvenile Long Legged Buzzard
No Red Lights in these windows
Late in the day eagle eyed Liam spotted the 6th snake species of the trip a very nice cat Snake.
We had 2 further visits to the pond and on each occasion we saw Milos Grass Snake but they were all out in the water other than a brief sighting on the bank which Liam made a dash for but it vanished. We saw at least 4 snakes of various colour morphs. Liam made a valiant attempt at a catch from a jetty and ended up in the water. In the evening I spotted another larger viper which had a more fiery nature doing a S shape as often seen in rattlers. We also added Balkan Terrapin and more Milos Water frogs the biggest I've ever seen.
Hornet with a normal sized wasp for comparison
Milos Grass Snake
Matt and Liam discuss Liam's next dive.
Milos Green Lizards
2nd Bigger Viper
We saw quite a few of these White Breasted Hedgehogs I removed some giant ticks from a few.
Giant water frogs
View across the bay
The Team on the hunt for Mythos
The last night was spent on Santorini just in case of last minute ferry problems. Not so many species on here but we did find a good spot for Erhard's Wall Lizard and a few Turkish Geckos.
The Gecko finally got away less his tail.
I = Ios, S = Sikinos, M = Milos T = Santorini (Thira)
Balkan Terrapin only 1 M
Green Lizard 2 I c10 M
Erhard's Wall Lizard Common I, S, T (lifer)
Milos Wall Lizard Fairly Common M (lifer
Turkish Gecko Common I and S Uncommon M and T
Kotchy's Gecko Common I, S, M
Snake Eyed Skink 1 M
4 Lined Snake 1 I (1 dead)
Leopard Snake 1 M
Milos Grass Snake 4 maybe 6 M
Sand Boa 5 plus 1 DOR I
Nose Horned Viper 1 S
Milos Viper 2 M (lifer)
Cat Snake 1 M
Water Frog approx. 10 on I and M
Rabbit 3 I
White Breasted Hedgehog small numbers I and M
Cory's Shearwater few ferry crossing (lifer)
Mediterranean (Yelkouan) Shearwater few ferry crossing