All Photos © Carl Corbidge no unauthorised use
Day 1 26th May
Another early start to Manchester airport a short 2 hour flight and we were on our way.
Our first stop was a site with the potential for one of the more difficult lizard species (i had seen a photo of one in this area on a birders report). We stopped at a bridge in a likely looking spot and quickly spotted our first herp Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard Podarcis tiliguerta (TWL). Next I saw the rarer Pygmy Algyroides Algyroides fitzingeri running around in the leaf litter it was difficult to photograph so I made a grab for it and actually caught 2 at the same time. We saw about 6 in total.
Habitat of the 2 lizard species
Female Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard and below a male
Above and below Pygmy Algyroides
Male Brook Newt above and female below.
Before it got too warm we had a search near to Corte. We found some very nice Italian Wall Lizards Podarcis sicula, Italian Pool Frogs Pelophylax lessonae bergeri. As it warmed up we went up into the mountains where it was a little misty at times, again in some nice habitat of fast flowing streams with rock pools we found tadpoles of Corsican Painted Frogs Discoglossus montalentii but no adults. Another night search and salamander success, Matt flipped a juvenile and this was followed by 3 adults out and about, we then found an adult Corsican Painted Frog at the pools visted earlier in the day.
Italian Wall Lizard different males above and below.
Below 2 photos of each of the 4 salamanders.
Corsican Painted Frog
Beech Woodland habitat of Salamanders
Today we decided to look for another lizard found at highter altitudes. Again on the drive there was some nice scenery at one stop we had a quick search more TWL's Matt spotted a tail of a Western Whip Snake Hierophis viridiflavus vanish, within seconds another went into a bush and didn't seem to leave so we thought easy catch but it had somehow vanished. We drove higher to the lizard spot, luckily a statue of a well known European field herper guides the way, so we hopped out and walked to some rocks passing lots of TWL's and then our target 3 Bedriaga's Rock Lizards Archaeolacerta bedriagae, job done. We decided to have a few extra beers that night but managed to tick off Moorish Gecko Tarentola mauritania on the walk back.
Today we decided to hike up to Lac Melo we weren't likely to add any new species but the scenery was likely to be nice and it was a good spot for Lammergeier a bird both myself and Matt wanted to see. The drive up was beautiful and was the best scenery I have seen in Europe to date. On the hike up we found another Corsican Painted Frog, several more Rock Lizards, Lots of TWL's, birds included the endemic Corsican Finch Serinus corsicana Cirl Binting Emberiza cirlus, Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris and best of all lots of Alpine Choughs Pyrrhocorax graculus which were taking food from our hands. Another night search at a lowland stream and Matt caught a Sardinian Painted Frog Discoglossus sardus and I managed to locate and catch a Tyrrhenian Tree Frog Hyla sarda.
Nice Male Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard
Corsican Painted Frog
Me spoiling the view at Lac Melo
View back down the valley
Today we had a 2 hour drive south to a coastal lowland area with the main aim of finding the 2 snake species of the island. We arrived to find a very recent dor Corsican Grass Snake Natrix natrix corsa of a lovely blue colouration. We were a bit knocked back by this find. We had a look around a pond saw some pool frogs and on the way back in a recently cut bramble and hawthorn hedge I spotted a Western Whip Snake I knew there was no chance of catching it and pointed it out to Matt, the snake took off and as it did, so did Matt Kamikaze style, sideways into the brambles and thorns and ended in an upside down position covered in cuts and abrasions. Once I had dragged Matt back out of the edge we went to another wetland. I managed to catch a big grass snake followed by flipping another. Later in the evening when it had cooled down we found a Turkish Gecko Hemidactylus turcicus and unbelievebly whilst looking for a whip snake on returning to our car one had just been hit by a car right next to where our car was parked. A nocturnal search for Leaf Toed Gecko only revealed scorpions and a hedgehog.
An unfortunate Grass Snake
Above 3 first Grass Snake and below second
Today was really hot we ticked off European Pond Terrapin Emys orbicularis, Matt rescued a Hermann's Tortoise Testudo hermanni wandering across a busy road. Our main aim was to catch a whip snake but it got too warm and decided to cool off in the sea and try later. Late in the afternoon when we least expected a smallish whipsnake appeared behind our tent and Matt managed to catch it. Another nocturnal search and tree frogs and pool frogs were calling everywhere we also heard a Green Toad Bufo viridis but couldn't locate it.
Western Whip Snake
Male Red Backed Shrike
Tyrrhenian Tree Frogs
This was our last chance to find a good sized whipsnake so we got up early before things got too hot. We searched our favourite area with nothing and as so often happens when you start the walk back to the car Matt made a dive and caught a good sized adult snake. We made our way back to Corte feeling satisfied, another stop in the cool mountains revealed more TWL's Rock lizards and 2 small Corsican painted frogs. Last herps of the trip were Moorish geckos after our final beers of the trip and rounded off one of the best herping trips I've done to date.
Matt getting some shots
Western Whip Snake
Me and Western Whip Snake
Small Corsican Painted Frog
Above male and below female Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard
Corsican Fire Salamander Salamandra corsica
Corsican Brook Newt Euproctus montanus
Corsican Painted Frog Discoglossus montalentii
Sardinian Painted Frog Discoglossus sardus
Italian Pool Frog Pelophylax lessonae bergeri
Tyrrhenian Tree Frog Hyla sarda
Green Toad Bufo viridis (heard only)
Hermann's Tortoise Testudo hermanni
European Pond Terrapin Emys orbicularis
Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard Podarcis tiliguerta
Italian Wall Lizard Podarcis sicula
Bedraiga's Rock Lizard Archeolacerta bedriagae
Pygmy Algyroides Algyroides fitzingeri
Moorish Gecko Tarentola mauritania
Turkish Gecko Hemidactylus turcicus
Western Whip Snake Hierophis viridiflavus
Corsican Grass Snake Natrix natrix corsa