Croatia & Montenegro 8th to 15th of May 2004

Lars Bergendorf and Tommi Sandberg spend a week in the beginning af May in this area. The goal species for the trip were the Adriatic endemic lizards Dalmatolacerta oxycephala, Dinarolacerta mosorensis, Podarcis melisellensis and the Montenegro-Albanian endemic frog Pelophylax shqipericus.

Thanks to our club100 colleagues Anders & Per and our mail contacts Jan Van Der Voort & Jeroen Speybroeck we found them all.

8th of May, Saturday

We flew out from Copenhagen at 7 a.m. to Split in Croatia. About 10.30 we had our rental car and drove along the coast down to Montenegro.

View from the adriatic cost in Montenegro north of Budva, © Lars Bergendorf

We found a hotel in the town Budva. No herptiles were seen along the road.

9th of May, Sunday

Rain, rain and rain most of the day. But we drove to Lake Sasko were we knew that Pelophylax shqipericus was seen and heard by Jan Van Der Voort in June 2003. Only some minutes after we arrived to the lake we heard the first shqipericaus! With the help of some small boats we managed to get some pictures of the frogs as well.

Lake Sasko, © Lars Bergendorf

We also heard some typical Pelophylax kurtmuelleri (or kurtmulleri) calls further out in the lake. After some hours we drove to the very large lake Skadar. At the western parts we heard more of and made some recordings of shqipericus (please click here to listen). Now the sun was shining but still no reptiles.

10th of May, Monday

In sunshine we drove early in the morning to the Lovcen National Park a bit north of Budva and south of Cetinje. Again we had some great information and maps from Jan of good spots for the lizards. Our first reptile, a Podarcis muralis, was found when we were up at 1500 meters. Up here it was very cold and a lot of snow was covering the road! We drove down to about 1200 meters. Tommi found a young Anguis fragilis under a stone. Just a couple of minutes later we had found both Dinarolacerta mosorensis and Dalmatolacerta oxycephala. Now our Nikon cameras got really warm!!

Habitat for Dinarolacerta mosorensis and Dalmatolacerta oxycephala in Lovcen NP, © Lars Bergendorf

Quite happy we drove down to Cetinje and took a small road to the west. We found and got some more photos of Dalmatolacerta oxycephala and Podarcis muralis.

11th of May, Tuesday

In the morning we checked out from the hotel and drove back north to Croatia. Just after the border we stopped because of a dead snake on the road. When we walked back to look at it we saw that it was actually a large European Glass Lizard Pseudopus apodus. When we then walked back to the car we found seven more P apodus but now alive and really fast in the roadside scrubs! At noon we spent some hours in the old town of Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik old town, © Lars Bergendorf

At the harbour we found two Dalmatolacerta oxycephala on the old ring wall. Further north near Gradac we found the first Podarcis melisellensis. A beautiful greenbacked and yellowbellied male in the stoney area at the roadside. In the little village Tucepi we checked in at a nice 'zimmerfrei' place.

12th of May, Wednesday

In the morning we drove uphill to the gate of Biokovo National Park. We payed just 30 kunas (about 3 euros) to get in. After some hairpin bends we came to the rather rocky plateau that Jeroen had recommended us to visit.

Tommi at the plataeu in Biokovo NP, © Lars Bergendorf

Up here Tommi found a young Platyceps najadum. Tommi called at me but the snake disappeared under a bush before I was able to see it. That's life man! In just 10 minutes we also found a Lacerta trilineata and it's cousin Lacerta viridis, both males. When the sun was obscured by clouds it got really cold. We drove down to Kotisina botanical garden were it was warmer.

Lasse herphunting in Kotisina botanical garden, © Lars Bergendorf

We saw another Podarcis melisellensis there.

13th of May, Thursday

Rain, rain and rain half of the day. Later in the afternoon the sun was shining again. We did another visit to Biokovo. But the only new herp was Algyroides nigropunctatus. We also saw Podarcis melisellensis up on the plateau. The sun disappered again and because of the cold wind we drove down to our 'zimmer' and had some whisky cola in the balcony instead!

Whiskytime! © Lars Bergendorf

14th of May, Friday

Drove slowly on a small road at the east side of the costal mountains back to Split. Along the road we found a young Elaphe quatuorlineata, a Rana dalmatina, some more Algyroides nigropunctatus, another L viridis and a roadkilled Bufo bufo.

Tommi butterflyhunting on the way to Split, © Lars Bergendorf

We also heard some frogcalls from a river. The calls sounded just like P kurtmuelleri (ka ka ka calls) but this species should not be found north of Montenegro?

15th of May, Saturday

At 11 a.m. we flew back to Copenhagen and then continued by train and boat to our hometown Helsingborg in Sweden and beside some bad weather, we where quite happy with the trip.

/Lars Bergendorf

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