Well winter has well and truely arrived, and as I write this my street is covered with over one foot of snow, its probably no surprise to most people that I am not a winter person. Like many of the animals I pursue I wish I could just go underground and stay there until spring arrives in 2011. Luckily, this year I will have a trip in February to southern Portugal (Algarve) with my friend Carl Corbidge, with the hope of seeing a number of amphibian species in full breeding activity at that time. Some target amphibian species start reproducing in December until the spring in the southern Iberian peninsula, such as Spadefoot toads (Pelobates), Parsley frogs (Pelodytes), Newts (Triturus, Pleurodeles) and salamanders (Salamandra). However, several more species usually start breeding in February, such as Tree frogs (Hyla), Painted frogs (Discoglossus), Toads (Bufo) so with some luck we may see some explosive amphibian breeding!
Something else that made me think of spring this week was a photograph sent to me by Paul Manning, a wildlife photographer who spends a lot of time on the Greek island of Lesvos, and also has a nice website where you can see his photos. The photo that Paul sent to me is a fantastic shot of two male Ottoman vipers (Montivipera xanthina) doing the ‘combat dance’ where one snake aims to force the other snakes head to the ground to win the prize of a female. This is something I have never seen myself, and Paul was very fortunate to be able to witness some rarely seen behaviour, this photo really made me already start looking forward to my next trip to Greece in spring 2011. To see some photos of some Ottoman vipers found my me and my colleagues this year click here