Corsica, 07.-17.09.2013

So far, our twitching list lacked of one spectacular lizard species: Archaeolacerta bedriagae. Our trip to Corsica should close this gap – and it delivered: extensive photo sessions with these lizards brought phantastic shots! Other target species of this trip were Algyroides fitzingeri and Euleptes europaea. Thanks to Matt Wilson, Jeroen Speybroeck and GertJan Verspui.

  • Northwestern Spain, 16.-23.9.2017

    Northwestern Spain, 16.-23.9.2017

    Reptile Rallye on the Iberian Peninsula

  • Ionian Islands, 25.5.-5.6.2017

    Ionian Islands, 25.5.-5.6.2017

    Cruising through Ulysses’ homeland

  • Portugal, 14. – 21.4.2017

    Portugal, 14. – 21.4.2017

    Lizard safari at the Atlantic coast

  • Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 27.3. – 2.4.2017

    Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 27.3. – 2.4.2017

    Season Opening 2017

  • 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

  • Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Lizards in the Alicante Province

  • Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    Chamaeleons, Trachylepis and beautiful beaches...

  • Eifel region

    Eifel region

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

  • Good morning, Corsica!

    In Corsica, Archaeolacerta bedriagae occurs in high-altitude mountain areas as well as in some coastal sections. The lowland and highland populations are different in genetic and morphologic regards – we wanted to see both. Hence, the first station of our trip was Corte, a small town in the Center of the Haute Corse mountain area. This part of Corsica has really impressive landscapes – a fact that obviously had been noticed by others before: the complete area was crowded with tourists. So, we had to face fully booked hotels, caravans trying to push through narrow mountain roads and hordes of hikers.

    The first spot we visited were the „Cascades des Anglais“ at Vizzavona, an area where Archeolacerta bedriagae easily can be photographed. Besides the rock lizards we also saw some Podarcis tiliguerta – an omnipresent lizard on Corsica. As some scientific papers have stated that Podarcis tiliguerta, an endemic species of Corsica and Sardinia, might be a species complex we shot pictures of these lizard in each station we visited. You never know if there will be some species-splitting sometime…

  • At the Cascades des Anglais

  • Soon, the first Archaeolacerta bedriagae was found

  • The rock lizards of this area frequently show „panther patterns“…

  • …or tiger stripes…

  • …or nice spots

  • Archaeolacerta photography

  • A male Podarcis tiliguerta…

  • …and a female

  • A young Discoglossus, having completed its metamorphose – probably Discoglossus montalentii

    We visited the Parc de Verghello (North of Vizzavona), a steep, forested mountain valley.
    There we tried to find Algyroides fitzingeri – successfully. This species is supposed to be rather rare on Corsica. But, probably it is frequently overlooked, due to its small size and its secretive behavior.

  • Algyroides fitzingeri…

  • …sometimes, it can be hard to spot these tiny lizards

  • Podarcis tiliguerta from Parc de Verghello

  • The obligatory orchid picture: Spiranthes aestivalis – a new species for us.

  • Due to its isolated geographic situation a lot of endemic species can be found on Corsica – like this meadow saffron (Colchicum corsicum)…

  • …or this butterfly (Coenonympha corinna) which only occurs on Corsica and Sardinia and Capraia island.

  • Hierophis viridiflavus, basking on the road

    We expected the visit of the famous Restonica valley to be a fantastic experience: Driving with the car through this wild gorge up to 1400 m altitude and then start hiking into the wilderness of the mountains – and of course, the local rock lizards were supposed to be quite extraordinary… Reality was a little bit different: an endless convoy of cars trying to pass the narrow mountain road – traffic jam! The fee for the parking at the end of the road was 5 Euros. There, careful referrers assigned individual parking spaces to each car – paying attention that the limited parking space was used efficiently. Up there, the weather was cold and stormy and the mountains were covered by clouds. This didn’t deter the crowds of hikers from walking up the mountain trail in an endless human chain – the atmosphere resembled to a shopping mall at the last week-end before Christmas. At first, we courageously joined the hikers’ procession. But, as the sky became more and more cloudy we cancelled our hike half an hour later: Under these conditions, we wouldn’t see any rock lizards anyhow.

    Next, we visited the Asco valley, another mountain gorge in the North. There, fewer tourists compared to Restonica. Above the Haut-Asco ski station we found rock lizards and Podarcis tiliguerta, again.

    Presumably, September is not the optimal time to find amphibians. Hence we decided to start a night-excursion – hoping for salamanders. Possibly, we are not the greatest amphibian hunters... in any case, we didn’t succeed. At least we could watch several Tarentola mauritanica on the house walls in a nearby village (where also good pizza was served). This was the end of our mountain stay. The next morning we moved to the south-west coast at Propriano.

  • The famous Restonica valley…

  • hiking destination for crowds of tourists…

  • Freezing Podarcis tiliguerta

  • Another endemic plant of Corsica: Narthecium reverchonii

  • Haut-Asco mountain scenery…

  • …home of Podarcis tiliguerta…

  • …and this Archaeolacerta bedriagae with decorative blue dots

  • Dinner on the balcony of our Grand-Hotel in Corte

  • Result of a rather fruitless night excursion: Tarentola mauritanica – presumably, the picture quality could have been increased by activation of the red-eye reduction function…

  • Good morning, Corsica! – Let’s go south.

    Whereas Archeaolacerta bedriagae seems to be almost omnipresent in the high altitudes of Haut Corse, only a few populations at the coast are known. At first, we followed a hint given by Jeroen – a place at the south coast near Bonifacio. Here, after a long search, we found a sub-adult and an adult specimen at exactly the rock formation Jeroen had described. In the nearby area we didn’t come across a single rock lizard despite there were plenty of suitable habitats. Should the rock lizards be so rare at the coast?

    Later on, a stopover near Bonifacio brought Podarcis siculus which seems to be much rarer than Podarcis tiliguerta on Corsica. In the evening we had plenty of Tarentola mauritanica and Hemidactylus turcicus around our appartment.

  • The coast at Bonifacio – in the background Sardinia can vaguely be seen.

  • Subadult Archaeolacerta bedriagae…

  • …and an adult

  • At the south coast, Podarcis tiliguerta is more colourful than in the mountains

  • Another curious Podarcis tiliguerta

  • Podarcis siculus at an olive tree

  • Podarcis siculus is substantially bigger and more robust than Podarcis tiliguerta

  • Orthetrum brunneum(?) in love

  • Female Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis…

  • …and some males

  • Hemidactylus turcicus in the torch light

    We checked another coastal section near Propriano and – to our surprise – we found a spot directly at the sea which was densely populated by Archaeolacerta bedriagae. These “sea lizards” were really impressive: very dark, frowning animals with stoic behavior: When they feel disturbed, they slowly walk away – actually they don’t run –, disappear and don’t come back. Completely different as the bustling and curious wall lizards.

  • Lizard habitat with sea view

  • ...and its inhabitant (Archaeolacerta bedriagae)

  • This Archaeolacerta bedriagae lives up to its genus name...

  • A mini dragon…

  • …in full glory

  • Sea-lizard

  • The coastal specimen frequently showed blue colours on their tales.

  • A juvenile

  • And a more colourful specimen

  • All observations have to be documented accurately…

    The Propriano area has coastal rocks as well as sandy beaches with dunes and marsh areas. Here, we searched for Natrix natrix corsa. Soon, we found one and even came across a nice Hierophis viridiflavus which tolerated being photographed in-situ. Hierophis viridiflavus seems to be common in this area – we saw several juveniles. Our search for Euleptes europea turned out to be more difficult. As we finally had found a juvenile and tried to get some pictures, this specimen lost its tale. We cannot recommend handling these fragile animals. After this experience we decided to cancel our search for Euleptes.

  • Dune vegetation: Glaucium flavum

  • Hierophis viridiflavus, sun-basking

  • Natrix natrix corsa

  • Juvenile Euleptes europaea

  • Juvenile Hierophis viridiflavus

  • Pancratium maritimum

    We visited another rocky coastal section at the south-west coast and discovered that the complete area was densely populated by Archaeolacerta bedriagae. Obviously, this species may be more abundant at the coast as it seems. Presumably, the time of the day and weather conditions play a role if the lizards come out: an apparently uninhabited area can be full of rocks lizards some hours later and vice-versa. We don’t know which factors determine if they appear or not.

  • Searching for rock lizards (1)

  • Searching for rock lizards (2)

  • Archaeolacerta bedriagae…

  • …and another one

  • Coastal habitat

  • A subadult specimen…

  • …and a juvenile

  • Another nice juvenile

  • Having enough of the photographers…

    This photo session was the end of our Corsica stay. In the morning of 16 September we went to Bastia airport. There, we had some fun with the friendly staff of the local car rental company (see below) and finally we left to Nice there we stayed for another night. After having explored the herpetological and commercial attractions of this city we took the plane back to Düsseldorf the next day.

  • Fieldherpers beware! On Corsica, the rentals cars have to be returned clean – that means: vacuum cleaned. If there is some dirt on the floor – like on this picture – it will cost 135 Euros. A great business model!

  • Au revoir, Corse

  • Nice:

  • Finally – shopping!

  • Herpetofauna Niceae: Tarentola mauritanica…

  • …and Podarcis muralis

  • Homo sapiens