This weekend I have been in Murcia (Spain) visiting some friends. Not a herping trip at all but on Saturday I did spend the afternoon in the field with my good friend and famous Murcian Naturalist and Conservationist Vicente Hernandez-Gil. We drove up the north west of Murcia where I was hoping to find some Betic midwife toads (Alytes dickhilleni) as I had a very reliable spot kindly shared with me by Kevin Byrnes.
However despite lifting a vast amount of stones I couldn’t locate a midwife toad. But a few nice things turned up, such as a Bedriaga’s skink (Chalcides bedriagai) which is a new record for that area of Murcia and is generally a very under recorded species in the province. Further to this I found some Large psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus), Spanish psammodromus (Psammodromus hispanicus), Spanish wall lizard (Podarcis hispanicus), and Turkish gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus). Close to some fresh water lifting some stones revealed a tiny hatchling Viperine snake (Natrix maura) which i didn’t bother to photo as the animal was so small and fragile. The best find was slightly further away from water when I found a Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) and a Southern smooth snake (Coronella girondica) under the same stone. On the banks of the water I also saw hundreds of Perez’s frogs (Pelophylax perezi) and a Spanish terrapin (Mauremys leprosa), another new record for the area.
After stopping at some ideal Alytes habitats such as small water cisterns we found we couldn’t even find a tadpole of the species. In the evening driving back to Murcia city Vicente and I stopped at the pond in one of the driest and most barren areas of Europe which has Western spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes), Parsley frog (Pelodytes punctatus), Natterjacks (Bufo calamita) and Common toad (Bufo bufo). Sadly however it was bone dry despite some rain the previous night so all we saw here were some more lizards.
Here are a few photos from the afternoon: