Sunday, 30 December 2012

Another Winter Herping Trip to the Algarve

In February 2011 myself and Matt Wilson did a trip to the Algarve. It was a very successful trip in the sense we saw all the species we wanted to, but some were only seen in low numbers. So together with Matt again, Gert Jan Vespui (Netherlands) and Liam Russell (England) we decided a return trip was in order, starting on December 8th 2012. As in our 2011 trip we didn't have any rain to speak of, but it had rained the week before which ensured amphibian breeding was in full swing. I'm not going add too much text to this report. We managed a total of 12 amphibian species and 15 reptile species. Thanks to the lads for an enjoyable pre-Christmas trip and to Frank Deschandol, Jeroen Speybroeck, Peter Oefinger and Bobby Bok for providing some site information.

All Photos © Carl Corbidge unless stated otherwise.

Day 1. During the first nocturnal search it was evident that Spadefoot toads Pelobates cultripes and Algarve Parsley Frogs Pelodytes spp were going to be the commonest species.

Day 2
We started the day by going to a spot where previously Ive found 3 species of snake, but nothing today. We did however find several Carbonell's Wall Lizard Podarcis carbonelli, which have found a niche in sand dune habitat. Similar species were found at night including lots of Southern Marbled Newts Triturus pygmaeus.

Day 3
The main aim of the day was to find Spanish Wall Lizard (type 2) Podarcis hispanicus which were quite different to those ive seen around Murcia/Alicante and to search for Salamanders at night.

Day 4
Pretty much the usual suspects but we added Spanish Psammodromus which is now classed as a new species from this region Psammodromus occidentilis although they look exactly the same!! Gert also flipped a small Ocellated Lizard Timon lepidus.

Day 5 and 6 Into Spain
We decided to nip across to Donana to try and add a couple of extra species but failed with one got the other plus another 3 commoner ones. We were also given the opportunity to photograph a gorgeous captive male  Latastes Viper. It also got very cold 5 celsius at 9am.

Last night in Portugal
We drove back into Portugal for an evening search in at a site we had previously found Midwife Toads and Salamander larvae. Only one more toad but 2 salamanders which had a more delicate thinner build thasn those in Monchique but still classed as crespoi but maybe not.

The Team Gert Jan, Myself, Matt and Liam

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