Just a quick post to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Although 2012 hasn’t been a good year for me personally, I have had some great trips abroad and had some great experiences, as well as spending time with some great people who I’ve met on my travels. I would like to send a special Xmas thanks to my friends in Greece, especially Alex and David Ashcroft, Bo Stille, David Shimwell, Rosemary and David Bellamy as well as Nicholas and Adriana Shum who have tolerated me, and offered me their fabulous hospitality this year. My trips this year would not have been anywhere near as interesting (or successful) without some excellent travel companions so all the best to Carl Corbidge, Ilias Strachinis, Giorgos Pastrikos, Gertjan Verspui and Liam Russell!
As a final post of 2012, here is a short report from my latest trip here
Parsley frog (Pelodytes sp)
Great week in Portugal and S-W Spain, amphibians were out in numbers and we even found 13 species of reptile as well!
Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra crespoi) close to the border with Spain which to us looked different from the typical crespoi subspecies. (C) Matt Wilson
The team: Gertjan Verspui , Carl Corbidge, Me and Liam Russell
Next week I am going back to one of my favourite places to see amphibians, the southern coast of Portugal or the Algarve as it is better known. I’m pleased to say that Liam Russell will also be joining Carl, Gertjan and myself, taking a break from his PhD work on Sand lizards.
A month ago, French ami Frank Deschandol was in the Algarve and his timing perfectly coincided with the first heavy Autumn rains and therefore saw hundreds of breeding Western spadefoot toads (Pelobates cultripes), Algarve parsley frogs (Pelodytes sp.nov) and Sharp ribbed newts (Pleurodeles waltl). These are usually the first three amphibians to start breeding in the temporary ponds, usually followed a month or so later by at least 5-6 other amphibian species. Owing to his timing, Frank was very fortunate to capture on camera male Pelobates cultripes not only calling, but doing so on land. This is the first time I have seen this filmed as Spadefoot toads usually call from the bottom of their breeding pond. In the background you can also hear Parsley frogs calling. To see Franks awesome photos from his trip visit his field report by clicking here.
(C) Frank Deschandol November 2012
In addition, for those of you who know some Spanish, here is a nice 30 minute feature on amphibian decline in Spain, including a nice project to reintroduce some species which became locally extinct due to the expansion on the outskirts of Barcelona:
El silencio de la charca