Season’s end and new name

Although I have had some great trips abroad this year, herping closer to home has been very disappointing with over half of my local adders vanishing probably due to them drowning during hibernation from severe floods. So I was very pleased to find this newborn baby adder whilst out last weekend as it was trying to cross a small country road. Despite the weather being suitable I couldn’t see any adults around apart from a female which had sadly been hit by a car. This will probably be my final adder observation of the year as I don’t get out as much in the autumn due to a busy work load.

I also decided that the webpage needed a new name to reflect the evolution of my interests in Herpetology as my future plans do not solely involve visiting European destinations. Therefore, Amphibian and Reptile Travels now seems more appropriate than The European Amphibian and Reptile Blog. The content of the site does remain very much the same for now.

Matt

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By Matt Wilson

Southern Morocco

Myself, Carl and Gertjan just returned from a fantastic trip to southern Morocco. We had a number of highlights, including Puff adder (Bitis arietans), White-bellied carpet viper (Echis leucogaster) and Desert monitor (Varanus griseus). Click here or on the sidebar to be directed to the photo gallery.

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By Matt Wilson

Symi photo gallery

I’ve just returned from a visit to the Dodecanese island of Symi, one I have visited many times before. This was not a herping trip as at this time of year the island is one of the hottest places in Greece with temperatures close to 40 degrees. Instead I spent time with friends and spent most of the days at my favourite beach. I did do a couple of searches and found some interesting species, above all the hardest species to find on the island: the Levant Skink (Trachylepis auratus). Please click this link  to visit the gallery.

Next week off to Morocco with Carl and Gertjan and then back to idealic Epano Koufonissi in the Cyclades in October for a secluded retreat.

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By Matt Wilson

Early summer adder count

This time last year I saw a personal best of 14 female adders (Vipera berus) during one visit at my local site. However, in ideal conditions today I only saw two. Why? Well, turns out the severe floods on Boxing day completely inundated the site. Having spoken with some residents in the areas I can estimate that well over half of the adder site was several feet under water during the floods. This was already evident in early spring when several regular males were nowhere to be seen. In the end a grand total of 3 males have been observed at the site this year. My monitoring of females usually starts around June and although they have always outnumbered the males at this particular site the results today were very worrying. Here’s hoping some where merely washed away to other areas and that they didn’t all drown. Furthermore, I have found two killed females already this year at the site, one likely by cattle and the other which was hard to tell.

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By Matt Wilson

Slovakia trip report now online.

A short trip report from beautiful Slovakia is now online. Click here or on the image below to read it and see the photos.

In terms of other trips myself, Carl Corbidge and Gertjan Verspui will visit Morocco in August (think being in a frying pan!) and then I will likely return to the Dodecanese islands in late July to see friends and do some herping.

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By Matt Wilson

May male adders

Having sloughed a couple of weeks ago, the male adders were looking in good shape. They were interacting and even started to combat, something I’ve never seen before despite so much adder watching.

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By Matt Wilson

Spring?

There is no denying it, this “spring” has been truly awful. This day last year I watched mating adders at 7am as by 9am it would be too hot for them to even be out. Not this year, you’d be lucky to see any of the females out in the middle of the day with the temperatures and weather we’ve had this April. So therefore I do not have any nice reptile photos to share. The weather has not hindered the bird life so far and to compensate I’ve added a few photos below taken over the past weeks. For more local wildlife photos see my 2016 album.

In a month’s time I will head to Slovakia, where I will do some family time stuff combined with herping. There is a plan for a summer trip to Morocco between myself, Carl and the Dutch lad Gerjan Verspui. That’s because we love walking around in 45 degree heat😉

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By Matt Wilson

Costa Rica 2016 photos!

So we’ve just returned from a successful 12 days in the Osa peninsula in south-western Costa Rica. Although there was always some risk of missing certain species at the end of the dry season (which turned out to be true), we found a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and marine life. We even made friends with an orphaned Ocelot! I didn’t think it was possible for Costa Rica to be so dry, according to locals the driest in a long time. This initially made finding even common amphibians rather hard work, but in the end persistence paid off.

Many thanks to Adam Bland, Mike Boston, Marcelo Carvajal, Andrew Gray and especially Eduardo Castro Rojas for help before and during the trip.

I’m afraid I’ve been very lazy and not written a field report but instead added the photos to an album. Click here or on the image below.

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One highlight was finding the rare Bromeliad boa (Ungaliophis panamensis)

 

 

By Matt Wilson

Adder emergence 2016

I haven’t been able to visit the local adders (Vipera berus) until today so far this year which is a bit later than usual. At one site 2 males and more surprisingly a female were found followed by a visit to two other spots where one individual was found at each. Both of the latter two sites seem to have very small populations these days, probably not more than 10 individuals at each location.

Common frogs (Rana temporaria) have been breeding over the past week as well.


  
  
  

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By Matt Wilson

The past few weeks..

I haven’t seen any adders yet although many people I know have seen them for several weeks in other areas of the country. A few nights ago there was a big movement of Common frogs (Rana temporaria), although it snowed only hours later. I didn’t see any newts or toads. Up on the tops I saw some nice Mountain hares (Lepus timidus) in their full winter coats and several local short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) have been showing well. One sat on a post very close to my car but whenever I stopped the car it would fly a few posts down albeit a very co-operate individual for this species. The roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) group who feed outside my apartment window most mornings have also been showing well.

My next post should feature some snakes😉

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By Matt Wilson