Autumn trip

Me with a Horseshoe whip snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) (March 2008)

Well, although I said I wouldn’t be doing another trip abroad this year I guess I knew that would be impossible. Together with Carl Corbidge (UK), Bobby Bok (NL), Sander Schagen (NL) and possibly others I will spend a week in arid S-E Spain (Murcia) in October. I spent some time studying at university in Murcia in 2008 and I became very interested in the region’s amphibians and reptiles. Some species targets for us on this trip will include Betic midwife toad (Alytes dickhilleni), Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra ssp morenica), Spanish algyroides (Algyroides marchi) and with some luck, may be even Lataste’s viper (Vipera latastei). In addition I hope some of my old herping friends from Murcia will be able to join us some days. I have some very pleasant memories from Murcia, chasing lizards and snakes, and especially capturing a wonderful Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) of over two metres (pictured below).

La sierra de la Pila, Murcia (C) Matt Wilson

Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson

Summer weekend in the field

On Saturday I visited a site in the Yorkshire Dales where a pair of Peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) have been nesting, although the chicks had fledged the adults were both still present and from a great height I was able to watch them perched, and flying from a steep cliff. Also of interest on the day was the sighting of a Stoat (Mustela erminea), as it ran across the path in front of me and into a drystone wall, as well as a Buzzard (Buteo buteo) passing high above. On Sunday, Carl came over for a bit of herping, and we set off early to the coast. In quite sunny weather we could find only two Sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) which weren’t photographed, and beneath some rubbish, a Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) and a Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita). Later in the afternoon in more cloudy weather we saw three female Adders (Vipera berus) at my regular spot.

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita)

Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita)

Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita)

Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)

Female Adder (Vipera berus)

By Matt Wilson

August update

Well, the typical August washout has set in with rainy weather pretty much everyday since the start of the month. However, I have spent a few days out in the field, the female Adders (Vipera berus) are still gravid as are some Viviparous lizards (Zootoca vivipara) although I have seen several newborn lizards.

Also at present, myself, Carl as well as others are considering an Iberian trip in the late Autumn/early Winter. Lets see….

Female Adder (Vipera berus)

Female Adder (Vipera berus)

Female Adder (Vipera berus)

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) on the hunt

Gravid female Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

By Matt Wilson