Romania, 24.05. - 03.06.2013

Bun venit - These are our Romanian adventures: Ten days travelling through this magnificent country with its Asian, Central and Southern European influenced flora & fauna. We saw wide
landscapes, narrow gorges, high mountains and met warm and friendly people. This country is a great destination! Our main stations were the Black Sea coast and South-Western Romania. The result of our trip: four new species and four new subspecies. Many thanks to Cosmin Manci, Gabriela Insuratelu, Adorian Ardelean, Corina Ardelean, Vlad Cioflec and Jan van der Voort.

  • Pyrenees, 2008 - 2016

    Pyrenees, 2008 - 2016

    Searching for Pyrenean lizards - third time's a charm!

  • Sicily & Aeolian Islands, 26.5. – 6.6.2016

    Sicily & Aeolian Islands, 26.5. – 6.6.2016

    Mission Volcano! Smoking mountains and rare reptiles

  • Astypalaia & Naxos, 25.3.-3.4.2016

    Astypalaia & Naxos, 25.3.-3.4.2016

    Hellas reloaded – Back in Europe’s biodiversity lab

  • Spain, 29.8.-11.9.2015

    Spain, 29.8.-11.9.2015

    Biodiversity on the south-eastern tangent

  • Montenegro, 2. – 11.7.2015

    Montenegro, 2. – 11.7.2015

    Lizard Safari in the mountains of Montenegro

  •  Malta, 3. – 6.4.2015

    Malta, 3. – 6.4.2015

    The exclusive Podarcis filfolensis Home Story!

  • Oman, 6.–15.3.2015

    Oman, 6.–15.3.2015

    Adventures in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula

  • Central Spain, 29.8. - 14.9.2014

    Central Spain, 29.8. - 14.9.2014

    14 days in the heat of Castile

  • Lefkada, Kefalonia & Akarnania, 24.5. - 3.6.2014

    Lefkada, Kefalonia & Akarnania, 24.5. - 3.6.2014

    Reptile adventures in Western Greece

  • Mallorca / Alicante - 15.-23.03.2014

    Mallorca / Alicante - 15.-23.03.2014

    2014 Season Kick-off with 16 reptile species

  • Corsica, 07.-17.09.2013

    Corsica, 07.-17.09.2013

    Mountains, sea and rock lizards

  • Portugal, 13. - 20.07.2013

    Portugal, 13. - 20.07.2013

    Lizard hunting in Central Portugal

  • Romania, 24.05. - 03.06.2013

    Romania, 24.05. - 03.06.2013

    Herping adventures from the Black Sea coast to the Iron Gate

  • Menorca, 17. - 24.03.2013

    Menorca, 17. - 24.03.2013

    Visiting the Balearic lizards

  • Peloponnese, 20. - 27.10.2012

    Peloponnese, 20. - 27.10.2012

    Autumn trip on Peloponnese

  • Montenegro, 27.07. - 04.08.2012

    Montenegro, 27.07. - 04.08.2012

    Summer trip in the mountains of Montenegro

  • Skyros & Evia, 26.05. - 04.06.2012

    Skyros & Evia, 26.05. - 04.06.2012

    Our search for the legendary giant lizards...

  • Crete, 06. - 13.04.2012

    Crete, 06. - 13.04.2012

    Searching for flowers and lizards on Crete...

  • Andalucia, 10. - 18.03.2012

    Andalucia, 10. - 18.03.2012

    A hot week full of herping highlights in Southwestern Andalucia

  • Northern Spain, 02. - 13.09.2011

    Northern Spain, 02. - 13.09.2011

    Herpetological trip to the northwest of Spain: the mountains west of Leon, the Atlantic coast south of A Coruña and the Picos de Europa.

  • Aegean Islands, 28.05. - 13.06.2011

    Aegean Islands, 28.05. - 13.06.2011

    Five islands in two weeks: Kythira, Pori, Milos, Kimolos and Sifnos

  • Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 12. - 19.03.2011

    Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 12. - 19.03.2011

    Trip to the easternmost island of Greece...

  • Central spain, 25.09. - 03.10.2010

    Central spain, 25.09. - 03.10.2010

    Iberolacertas within Sierra de Gredos, Pena de Francia and Sierra de Guadarrama

  • Alps, 03. -17.07.2010

    Alps, 03. -17.07.2010

    Our first trip to the Alps led us to the Allgäu area, the Julian Alps and Carinthia

  • Northern Peloponnese, 3.-11.4.2010

    Northern Peloponnese, 3.-11.4.2010

    Four Podarcis species in one area!

  • Northern Greece, 01. - 15. 06.2009

    Northern Greece, 01. - 15. 06.2009

    Great trip to the Pindos mountains...

  • Sicily, 28.03. - 04.04.2009

    Sicily, 28.03. - 04.04.2009

    Orchid trip to eastern Sicily

  • Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    Chamaeleons, Trachylepis and beautiful beaches...

  • Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Lizards in the Alicante Province

  • Eifel region

    Eifel region

    Our local "playground": botanical highlights, meadows with numerous butterflies and some herpetofauna...

  • Dobruja colors: Consolida orientalis

    Arrival in Bucharest. From there, we directly went to the Black Sea coast near Constanta, where we arrived in the evening.

    We went to Vadu beach to meet Cosmin Manci (a biologist from Iasi) and his wife Gabriela. On the way, a stopover brought the first species on our wishlist: Lacerta trilineata dobrogensis. In the swampy coast at Vadu we found Natrix natrix, Emys orbicularis, Testudo graeca and Podarcis tauricus. But, of course we headed for Eremias arguta and with Cosmin, the right places were easily found. After an extensive photo session with Eremias we drove to Babadag, a species-rich reserve. There, we found Podarcis tauricus, Lacerta viridis, Testudo greaca and Ablepharus kitaibelii.

  • An early hit: Lacerta trilineata dobrogica

  • Birgit & Gabriela relaxing on the beach...

  • ... while Peter & Cosmin are chasing lizards.

  • Eremias arguta - the most important species of our trip: it can be found in Europe only in Romania and neighboring CIS countries.

  • Pair of Eremias arguta

  • Orchis palustris

  • Coastal plain at Vadu

  • Ablepharus kitaibelii stepaneki

  • Podarcis tauricus tauricus

  • Iris variegata

  • Limodorum abortivum

  • Lacerta viridis - the specimen in this area often occur in the "meridionalis" color morph.

    We wanted more shots of Eremias arguta, and therefore went to Vadu, again. The beach was full of of these lizards. Afterwards, we moved to Histria - the ancient ruins were inhabited by Podarcis tauricus and the water was populated by Natrix tessellata and Natrix natrix. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get good shots of Lacerta agilis chersonensis - actually, this subspecies of the sand lizard should be our only failure (Cosmin couldn't understand why we made such a fuss about such a common species :-). At Histria, we also had to learn that a full-grown Dolichophis caspius is very, very big - much too big for us! Therefore, we hoped to find a smaller one later... After lunch at Histria we were cruising around, but didn't find anything new.

  • Eremias arguta in its full glory

  • Baby crocodile...

  • Eremias arguta shows an amazing behavior: The flight distance is about 3 meters, and if the animals start to run, they run over long distances, often 20 meters...

  • ...but sometimes, they don't flee at all but just stay...

  • ...and look curiously at the camera

  • Pregnant female

  • Our only documentation of Lacerta agilis chersonensis

  • Two color morphs of Natrix tessellata: patterned...

  • ...and uniform

  • Natrix natrix

  • Lunch at Histria

  • Bradyporus dasypus

  • Podarcis tauricus

    Cosmin showed us an area near Mangalia with a Vipera ammodytes habitat, but we had no luck. Anyhow, this time we came across a juvenile Dolichophis caspius (not too big for us!). Also in this area: Emys orbicularis, Testudo graeca and lots of Lacerta viridis. That day we had to say goodbye to Gabriela who had to go back home, and Cosmin who had to work the next day.

  • Juvenile Dolichophis caspius - not really impressive, admittedly, but a new species for us.

  • Cosmin admiring Peter's new bracelet.

  • Testudo graeca

  • Where are the Viperas?

    We wasted half a day with the unsuccessful search for Lacerta agilis - what a disgrace! Afterwards, we had another try for Lacerta trilineata: a first habitat we knew from our literature proved to be a dump. So we followed a guess by Vlad Cioflec and went to Gura Dobrogei. According to literature, there should only occur Lacerta viridis. But we found Lacerta viridis as well as Lacerta trilineata - so, Vlad had been right.

  • Male Podarcis tauricus (photographed by Birgit, of course...)

  • Spermophilus citellus

  • Steppe

  • Lost in Dobruja...

  • Lacerta trilineata

  • Emys orbicularis

  • Greetings from Central Asia!

    We moved from the Black Sea to the Iron Gate in western Romania - an eight hours drive. In Orsova, the Danube breaks through the southern foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and thereby has created a fantastic landscape. After our arrival in Orsova we took an evening walk around the area and found Testudo hermanni, Darevskia praticola, Lacerta viridis, Anguis colchica, Vipera ammodytes. After the barren steppe of Dobruja, the area around Orsova seemed like a herpetological supermarket to us!

  • On the road...

  • Danube, with Serbia on its right shore

  • Testudo hermanni with passenger

  • Anguis colchica(?) - With this specimen we were not really satisfied, since it hardly differed from Anguis fragilis or Anguis graeca.

  • Darevskia praticola, also a new species for us.

  • Vipera ammodytes

    During the night it had rained - Salamandra weather! In fact, we found Salamandra in the nearby forest as well as some very shy meadow lizards. Afterwards, the area around the Vodita Monastery should prove to be very productive: Lacerta viridis, Podarcis muralis, Darevskia praticola, Natrix tessellata, Testudo hermanni, Ablepharus kitaibelii, Emys orbicularis, Bombina variegata.

  • Salamandra salamandra

  • Darevskia praticola - these animals are shy critters!

  • Isophya speciosa

  • Salvium sp.

  • Near Orsova, Lacerta viridis occurs in remarkable density.

  • Darevskia praticola, hidden in dry leaves

  • Close-up of Emys orbicularis

  • Digitalis lanata

  • "Golden" Testudo hermanni

  • Podarcis muralis...

  • and another one...

  • Bombina variegata

    We went to the Moldova Noua area to meet Corina and Adorian Ardelean, two biologists from Timisoara who explained us a lot about plants and insects. In the Nera Gorge we searched for Vipera ammodytes - success! Then, Adorian showed us a place where he had found Anguis colchica. Our search was rewarded with a bold male. In that area, also Lacerta agilis and coronella austriaca was found - a great day!

  • Dactylorhiza incarnata

  • Where are the Vipers? (Birgit, Adorian and Corina)

  • Here they are! (Vipera ammodytes, in situ)

  • and another one (a "Vipera in its habitat" picture :-)

  • Portrait

  • Vipera ammodytes

  • Peter, showing off with his Viper

  • Cordulegaster bidentata

  • Centaurea atropurpurea

  • Lycaena alciphron

  • Lacerta viridis

  • Ride through dynamic weather

  • Our fourth new species: Anguis colchica - the males are massive and much bigger than Anguis fragilis, they almost resemble Pseudopus apodus

  • Hypnotized by Anguis colchica?

  • Finally: Lacerta agilis (Adorian couldn't understand why we made such a fuss about such a common species :-)

  • Verbascum phoeniceum

  • Birgit and Corina chatting about herbs & herps...

  • Decticus verrucivorus

  • Coronella austriaca

  • Dynamic weather again

    At rainy weather we started another search for Darevskia near Orsova; in the afternoon it rained constantly.

  • Dog country: Romania is populated by countless straying dogs

  • Darevskia praticola...

  • ...and another one

  • Melitaea arduinna

  • Libelloides macaronius

  • Orsova

    We drove along the southern slopes of the Carpathians towards Bucharest. On our way we saw some sand lizards. Unfortunately, a side trip to a Zootoca habitat on the "Transalpina" road was spoiled by a heavy thunderstorm. After our arrival in Bucharest, we explored the vital downtown bar scene and the following day we had to go back to Germany.

  • Lacerta agilis: the animals on the southern slopes of the Carpathians show more or less "argus" pattern

  • Digitalis grandiflora

  • On the "Transalpina" road

  • Bucharest: la revedere, Romania!