As during our trip in 2008 in southern France, Maud and I decided to take 15 days ; this time in northern and central Spain. No species priority research, or maybe many interesting species!
Friday 18 – Bilbao
From Bordeaux, we decide to join Bilbao to spot of Podarcis pityusensis, a species that we’ve seen this summer and we wanted to see again. Unfortunately, the weather was really catastrophic in the beginning of the weekend, with flood and flood. So we couldn’t observe the lizard, and we decided to reach Burgos Saturday morning.
Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 – Burgos
Arrived at Burgos, the weather became better. On our site, we quickly observed Timon lepidus, Pelophylax perezi and Hyla (arborea) molleri. During exploration, a Vipera latastei crossed front of Maud, but she (the viper…) immediately disappeared into the bushes. In the afternoon, we saw some Lacerta bilineata male and a basking Vipera latastei. Before going to bed, the started night allowed us to see many Bufo calamita. On Sunday morning, before leaving, we saw a basking female of V.latastei. Then we decided to go to north west. A pause on the road allowed us to observe only one Podarcis muralis brongniardii.
Monday 21 – Picos de Europa
Arriving on Picos de Europa, we have observed many interesting species: Podarcis m. brongniardii, our first Iberolacerta monticola cantabrica, and several Salamandra salamandra bernardezi. We spent the night in the tourist parking, where we saw (on the parking!) many amphibians: a lot of S. s. bernardezi, Ichthyosaura alpestris cyreni, Lissotriton helveticus alonsoi, Bufo bufo spinosus, Alytes obstetricans obstetricans, Rana temporaria parvipalmata! Amazing!
The next morning, nothing special, except on one point of view, where, among a group of tourists just got off the bus, we observed and we photographed a magnificent I. m. cantabrica (which allowed us a few questions from tourists – Why are you lying down the grass?) and a large R.t. parvipalmata. Then, we went toward several spots in order to search interesting species of amphibians and reptiles. We didn’t find anything interesting until 12pm, except ponds identified like of R.temporaria. Amazing for the season, but maybe not in this area?
Along the road we saw a beautiful male Lacerta schreiberi. The car was still on, and I thought we were going to see a lot of this species during the rest of the trip. So, I decide not to take pictures. What a mistake!!!!! Indeed it would be the only adult of Schreiber of the trip!
The afternoon was much more interesting and we saw new several species (or subspecies) for us: Salamandra salamandra alfredschmidti, Chioglossa lusitanica longipes, Zootoca vivipara louislantzi, Coronella austriaca acutirostris, Natrix natrix astreptophora, Bufo bufo spinosus, Alytes obstetricans and some tadpoles of Alytes and Rana.
Tuesday 22 – Near the Portuguese border I:
We therefore continue to descend to reach Ponferrada, where we saw a big Malpolon monspessulanus DOR. As we climbed in altitude, we observed a large female of Bufo bufo spinosus, a young Coronella austriaca acutirostris, and many curious Iberolacerta galani. A little later, we stopped beside a beautiful set of stone walls, where we observed some Podarcis bocagei, and we’ve decided to spend the night here.
Wednesday 23 – Road to the Portuguese border II
Arriving near the Portuguese border, we stopped to eat near a beautiful lake in the Sierra de la Cabrera. This decision enabled us to see many Podarcis hispanica (?), Pelophylax perezi, and some Podarcis bocagei. A little earlier, before we could review Iberolacerta galani a moult Coronella austriaca, and some Rana iberica.
Then, we bypassed the Portuguese border, towards Zamora, not without being arrested by customs… Here we have contacted Podarcis bocagei, and then Natrix maura, T.lepidus, Natrix natrix astreptophora, Psammodromus hispanicus, Pelophylax perezi. The night we stayed south of Zamora, in order to achieve quietly Peña de Francia tomorrow.
Thursday 24 – Peña de Francia.
At the foot of Peña de Francia, we stopped near a water point where we saw Pelophylax perezi, Rana iberica, Large Psammodromus algirus and Podarcis hispanica. At noon, we stopped on an area near a recent ruin. In the dried stream, we found Rana iberica, Salamandra salamandra bejarae, Lissotriton boscai.
Arriving at the top of the Peña de Francia, we failed to observe Iberolacerta martinezricai. The season, the rarity of the species and especially the high temperatures didn’t allowed us to observe the species.
We returned for the night near the ruins, where we saw in the old swimming pool numerous Pelophylax perezi and a large Pleurodeles waltl. Unfortunately the pool was too deep and we couldn’t approach it to photograph!
Friday 25 – Peña de Francia II
We returned early the next morning on top of Peña de Francia (for good temperature), but still without success… Only some Capra pyrenaica…
Then we went down south towards Park Monfragüe. On the road, we found near a monastery Rana iberica, Psammodromus algirus, Podarcis hispanica, Lacerta schreiberi (juvenile…), Natrix natrix astreptophora, Natrix maura. A little later, we found in a fish’s pond Hyla meridionalis and a dead Mauremys leprosa.
Arriving to Monfragüe, we found beside a pond Pelophylax perezi, many Pelobates cultripes, Alytes cisternasii, Natrix maura, and some Tarentola mauretanica.
Saturday 26 – Sunday 27 Gredos low
The aim of these days was to find some south amphibians as Discoglossus galganoi or Triturus pygmaeus. But it was definitely too hot, the river was almost dry and we saw nothing very interesting except for a new Podarcis hispanica, Pelophylax perezi, Natrix maura, Hyla molleri, Psammodromus algirus, and Mauremys leprosa and lot and lot of Procambarus clarkii. We also saw three times the same Neovison vison engaged in fishing (but too hard to photograph!).
Sunday 27 – Gredos top
At the top of Sierra de Gredos, we observed Pelophylax perezi, Rana iberica, Iberolacerta cyreni castiliana, Natrix maura. The aim was to see Lacerta schreiberi, but we have only seen juvenile once!
Monday 28 – Gredos low
With a new move to lower Gredos, we hoped to find a few more southern species, as Saturday. But again, still no success: despite a very favorable and fabulous spot, nothing, except a Psammodromus algirus and a skin of Malpolon monspessulanus.
Tuesday 29 – Thursday 01 – Back to France
Since Tuesday, the goal was to go quietly to France, stopping here and there on the road. We passed to the east of Madrid, in Zaragoza direction. We did not search anything during this day, but we saw in the evening Pelophylax perezi, Bufo bufo spinosus and Alytes obstetricans pertinax.
The next day, a stop near a ruin has enabled us to observe many of B.calamita, Pelodytes punctatus, T.lepidus, Chalcides bedriagai, Malpolon monspessulanus and Podarcis liolepis (?).
Just before Saragossa, a stop has allowed us to observe Bufo calamita, Psammodromus hispanicus (edwardsianus?), and Acanthodactylus erythrurus.
We spent the evening north of Zaragoza, on a site where we were awarded in 2007 and where we saw Bufo bufo spinosus and Pelophylax perezi.
The next morning we returned to France, but a final stop has allowed us to find some Natrix maura and Chalcides striatus.
Finally, and despite the bad weather conditions, we could make many observations, as much different as Iberolacerta, Chioglossa, or Vipera latastei. A very good week, despite difficult nights because of many excited deers!!
Total (40 espèces) :
Amphibiens (17 espèces)
Salamandra salamandra bernardezi
Salamandra salamandra bejarae
Salamandra salamandra alfredschmidti
Chioglossa lusitanica longipes
Ichthyosaura alpestris cyreni
Lissotriton helveticus alonsoi
Alytes obstetricans obstetricans
Alytes obstetricans pertinax
Bufo bufo spinosus
Rana temporaria parvipalmata
Reptiles (23 espèces)
Iberolacerta monticola cantabrica
Iberolacerta cyreni castilina
Podarcis muralis brongniardii
Podarcis hispanica ?
Podarcis hispanica ?
Podarcis liolepis ?
Zootoca vivipara louislantzi
Psammodromus hispanicus hispanicus (and edwardsianus ?)
Acanthodactylus erythrurus erythrurus
Chalcides bedriagai bedriagai
Coronella austriaca acutirostris
Natrix natrix astreptophora
Ps: A lot of thanks for all people who help us for this trip!
Tarentola mauretanica (© Maud)