Here is a short report from my holiday in Zákynthos (Zante) with my girlfriend. Not a herping trip but still some nice observations, especially the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta). I will write more text and include further photos over the course of the coming week. Read the report here
On thursday I was able to observe two Loggerhead Turtles (Caretta caretta) on Zakynthos thanks to some expert help from my Greek conservationist friend Yannis and his team. It really was an unforgettable experience and one I will always treasure. It was 36C here for the first five days, the hottest I have ever known for early June, but still seen lots of land reptiles as well as the turtles thanks to some early morning and late evening walks, including some exciting snake captures. Still three days left, mostly sitting on the beach and relaxing now though, will post photos soon.
In addition, my colleagues from Vienna have made a great report (auf Deutsch) from our trip to Andalusia in 2008 at http://www.herpetofauna.at/berichte/andalusia2008/index.php
I am off to Zakynthos on thursday for 2 weeks (4-18), not a herping trip but a holiday with my girlfriend. However apart from our stay in a very touristy resort we will be spending three nights in an apartment in the beautiful hillsides at Gerakas, which may allow me to find some interesting species whilst walking around as I did here previously. The last time I was on this Greek Island in 2005 I was able to find quite a number of species thanks to ideal weather and herping being the sole purpose of the trip. At the very least I hope this subsequent holiday will allow me to see some Hermann’s Tortoises (Testudo hermanni) a species I am very familiar with but one that was missing from my list last time around on Zakynthos, and maybe even the Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta). Temperatures are already 31C which is very hot for the beginning of June, so any chance that comes my way for searching will be done in the early morning or late evening hours when animals are more likely to be on the move. Furthermore, Zakynthos has an endangered population of European Pond Terrapin (Emys orbicularis) at just one locality, so if time permits maybe I will also visit this area.
The nesting beach for Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta) at Gerakas, photo taken during my last trip to Zakynthos in May 2005