Spain 30th of May to 13th of June 2004

This travel to Spain was mainly a family trip to see some friends but also gave some findings of herpetofauna. In total I managed to see 14 species among witch 13 were alive. The trip started in Santiago de Compostella with bad weather and no animals. Also in Oviedo the weather was cloudy but with no rain. When the sun almost broke through I saw two Podarcis muralis at the famous church at Naranco outside the city. In Leon I heard Hyla arborea and Pelophylax perezi from the river in the city. The trip continued to Burgos and during a hot day (5/6) we did an excursion with our friends Alfredo and Merce to the landscape northwest of Burgos. At the edge of the ravine where the river Ebro flows we had some more Podarcis muralis and in a village close to Cervera de Pisuerga at the edge of Reserva nacional de Fuentes Carrionas we had Pelophylax perezi and Lissotriton helveticus in a small concrete pool for the animals to drink from.

Fishing for Palmate Newt, © Per Blomberg Per with Palmate Newt, © Per Blomberg
Iberian Water Frog, © Per Blomberg Palmate Newt, © Per Blomberg

On Monday 7/6 we did an excursion with our friends Paco y Nuria to El Escorial and Sierra de Guadarrama northwest of Madrid. It was a cloudy morning but at the pastures at the higher parts of the mountain road north of El Escorial I turned some stones and found a young Timon lepidus. Some kilometres further north where we had a very nice view of the valley and I turned more stones and found several Podarcis hispanicus and one Chalcides bedriagai. It stayed under a quite big stone and I did not have any possibility to arrange my camera and hold the stone at the same time before it sneaked away and disappeared in a hole. We returned to Zarzalejo and in the afternoon when the weather became much better we did a walk around the nice lagoons and pastures south and southwest of the village. Here we saw and heard many Pelophylax perezi, and in a lagoon west of the main road I saw a glint of a Triturus boscai coming up to catch air. I also saw a Psammodromus algirus and several Podarcis hispanicus. In a stonewall I managed to take a photo of a big Timon lepidus. On a path I found a subadult Epidalea calamita running. In the village our friends use to have Acanthodactylus erythrurus running around the house but we did not see any this time.

Orchid in Zarzalejo, © Per Blomberg Six-spot Burnets in Zarzalejo, © Per Blomberg Zarzalejo, © Per Blomberg
Cazorla, © Per Blomberg Cacorla Orchid, © Per Blomberg Well - Spain, somewhere, probably, © Per Blomberg

We continued our trip to Granada and rented a car to drive up to Cazorla nature reserve in the very east of the Jaen province. We stayed here two nights and enjoyed the wonderful landscape with steep mountains, big forests and clean rivers. On the way from Cazorla to the park we had a dead Malpolon monspessulanus on the road just one kilometer north of Cazorla. The first evening we did a walk along the river close to the hotel just two kilometers west of the information center. Here we had several Psammodromus algirus. At night we could here Pelophylax perezi from the river and fish ponds and wild boar came to the garden. The next day we spent the morning along a side valley about 10 kilometers northeast from the information centre. We turned just after the village Cotorrios and parked by the control de Aguamula. Here is a fish cultivation and we followed the creek on the west side about a kilometer and returned when the path disappeared. When we reached the dam at the upper part of the cultivation on the way back I saw a small lizard on the rock just by the river. During 15 minutes at least three Algyroides marchi popped up everywhere and were easy to take photos of. Suddenly they were gone but 15 minutes lateer I found two more (or the same) about 25 meters further away along the creek. They were both close to the water and higher up on the steep rocky slope and in the forest vegetation. We also saw more Psammodromus algirus. When we walked back to the car I suddenly found a snake lying in the grass just beside the path (for people fishing along the creek) between the dry pine forest on the slope and the wet broadleaved forest along the creek. The color was brown-red with a distinct black chess pattern in four lines along the back. It made me confused and I could not find out what it was then. With assistance from club 100 we decided it must have been a Natrix maura. On the way back to Granada we made a stop at a tower in puerta de Tiscar (south of Quesada) witch I climbed and saw a Tarentola mauritanica curiously sticking out the head in the sun from a hole I just passed climbing up.

Oscellated Lizard in Escaril, © Per Blomberg Zarzalejo, © Per Blomberg
Natterjack Toad in Escaril, © Per Blomberg Zarzalejo, © Per Blomberg

Observed Species:

Lissotriton helveticus (Cervera de Pisuerga)
Triturus boscai (Zarzalejo)
Epidalea calamita (Zarzalejo)
Hyla arborea (Leon)
Pelophylax perezi (Leon, Burgos, Cervera de Pisuerga, Zarzalejo, Cazorla)
Tarentola mauritanica (Cazorla)
Psammodromus algirus (Zarzalejo, Cazorla)
Algyroides marchi (endemic to Cazorla)
Timon lepidus (Sierra de Guadarama, Zarzalejo)
Podarcis muralis (Oviedo, Burgos)
Podarcis hispanicus (Sierra de Guadarama, Zarzalejo)
Chalcides bedriagai (Sierra de Guadarama)
Natrix maura (Cazorla)
Malpolon monspessulanus (dead Cazorla)

13th of June /Per Blomberg

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