Sardinia and Corsica 2001


We took a charter without accommodation from Copenhagen to Alghero on the northwest side of Sardinia. At the airport we had a rental car waiting and with this I and my wife explored the north of Sardinia and southern part of Corsica for a week. It was our honey moon so the herpetofauna was not the main target for the trip. Anyway I saw in total 8 species and 5 of them were new for me. After landing at the airport we made an excursion to the rocky cost northwest of Alghero and the caves of Neptune. Along the 650 steps down the path along the steep rocks gives an impressive view of the landscape. The cave was beautiful but had salt water in the ponds so no cave salamanders were to be found. The first night was spent in the nice old town of Alghero.


We leave Alghero and drives south along the beautiful coast. The landscape is still very green and probably has reached the most intense flowering period. At Bosa we turn inland and continue to Nuoro where we get good help from the tourist bureau. We then drive to Oliena at the edge of Sopremonte Mountains where we stay at the only open pension for two nights. In the evening we go to Orgosola to se the interesting mural paintings in the town and along the road.


In the morning we start of to Tiscal which is a prehistoric settlement deep into the mountains. We park the car in the valley south of the site and it is not very easy to find the way. Here are no arranged parking place and probably quite few visitors. We manage to find the way up to the amazing “crater” where the old settlement is hiding. A guard is sitting at the entrance and collect money for the entrance. In the summer I guess more people find their way up here. On the way down I see a Western Whip Snake (Hierophis viridiflavus) with its striped yellow and black tail. There are also some Tyrrenian Wall Lizards (Podarcis tiliguerta) and on the lowland I saw an Italian Wall Lizard (Podarcis siculus).


This day we start early to go up to Santa Teresa and the ferry for Corsica. The first part is motorway but later a smaller road continues north. The traffic is not very intensive but some heavy trucks make the drive slow. Before Arzachena we stop at a small museum and historic site of Nuraghe. The ruins are situated in a nice olive orchard and when the sun shines through the clouds there is activity among the rocks. There are several Tyrrhenian Wall Lizards (Podarcis tiliguerta) and on the north side of the ruin I find a Pygmy Algyroides (Algyroides fitzingeri). Just beside I find a Marginated Tortoise (Testudo marginata) and an Italian Wall Lizard (Podarcis siculus) and have all four species in the same view. We then continue to Santa Theresa and have to wait a while until the next ferry leaves at 15.00. There are very few passengers and we reach the very beautiful cliffs and the old town of Bonifasio after just an hour. We saved a visit to the wonderful city for later and drove north along the east cost and up to Cortes in the middle of the island. The drive just takes two hours and the roads are quite good on the lowland. Cortes is very nice situated but don't have so many old houses. We find a nice hotel at the west side of the city close to a river and surrounded by high mountains.


This day we had planned to explore the valley and mountains west of the hotel but the road was blocked by earth slides. Otherwise there should be good chance for salamanders and newts up in mountain ponds here. Instead we drove north on the next road crossing the mountains to the west side of the island. Up in the high valley we made a stop at Lozzi at the foot of mount Cinto in north and walked in a very nice chestnut orchard. Here where a lot of Tyrrhenian Wall Lizards (Podarcis tiliguerta). Later we drove up to the highest pass on the road and walked around. It was chilly in the wind but sunny. After a while I found an adult Bedriaga´s Rock Lizard (Archaeolacerta bedriagae) just 100m south of the pass among rocks. Later we return back on the road and made a stop to look for Corsican nutcrush but without luck. In the afternoon we returned back to Cortes.

Corsican mountains © Per Blomberg


We left the hotel in the morning and drove southwest over the mountains to the pass Col de Vizzavona and forest de Vizzavona. The beech forest has just opened their leaves and it is a wonderful walk up the canyon to some nice waterfalls. I hoped to find some salamanders or newts but didn't have any luck. For birds the area was good. We continued to Sartene on small mountain roads, had lunch and drove down to Bonifacio on the south cape. We walk along the beautiful cliffs east of the city but don't see any new species. In the evening I hear tree frogs behind the hotel and due to the new Arnold it must be Hyla sarda. I also on distance hear something like green toads but I'm not sure.


8.30 we take the ferry for Sardinia in a wonderful weather. From Santa Teresa we drive south along the west coast and make stops in Isola Rossa and Castelsardo. From here we continue to Sassaro which turn out to be a very messy and uninteresting city so we continue on to Alghero. Before entering the city we turn right for the small lake west of the airport. It is a nice area and in the morning and evening I guess here can be good for both birds and herpetofauna. I met several Hermann's Tortoises (Eurotestudo hermanni) and Tyrrhenian Wall Lizards (Podarcis tiliguerta) during the short visit. We return to Alghero to find a room for the night and enjoy the nice environment.


In the morning we drove to the airport, left the car and flew home to Kastrup and on to Sweden .

/Per Blomberg

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