Kos and Kalymnos
March 28th- 8th April 2015
All photos (C) Matt Wilson 2015
We arrived on Kos to find that the coastal areas were inundated after very strong rains with large parts of coastal roads being under water. That night we ventured out to find large numbers of calling tree-frogs (Hyla arborea) and Green toads (Bufo viridis) as well as water frogs (Pelophylax bedriagae). Despite considerable efforts we could not find any Syrian spadefoot toads (Pelobates syriacus). Over the next few days in mixed, often cold weather we found the usual numbers of Starred agamas (Laudakia stellio), snake-eyed lacertids (Ophisops elegans), snake-eyed skinks (Ablepharus kitaibelli) and Balkan green lizards (Lacerta trilineata). Also several glass lizards (Pseudopus apodus) were out basking early on. Compared to my last visit to Kos we saw only a few Balkan terrapins (Mauremys rivulata) without managing any photos. At two different sites, flipping lots of roofing tiles we found good numbers of Ocellated skinks (Chalcides ocellatus) and a dozen Dahl’s whip snakes (Platyceps najadum), some of which were out and about in warmer weather together with a young Caspian whip snake (Dolichophis caspius). On our final day on Kos Carl spotting a large, 185cm basking Black whip snake (Dolichophis jugularis) which I managed to catch for some photos. Bully’s star prize!
I have wanted to visit Kalymnos for a number of years and although early in the season and in relatively poor weather, we decided to spend some days on this nice, mountainous island. The usual suspects were seen: starred agama, snake-eyed lacertid, snake-eyed skink as well as some Turkish geckos (Hemidactylus turcicus). We couldn’t find any habitat that could be used for reproduction by amphibians anywhere on Kalymnos. In terms of snakes we were somewhat disappointed considering the species present here. Catching two adult and one subadult Caspian whip snake (Dolichophis caspius) compensated to a degree but a couple of escaping Dahl’s whip snakes (Platyceps najadum kalymensis), an endemic subspecies, did not. In addition, 6 worm lizards (Blanus strauchi) and a worm snake (Typhlops vermicularis) were uncovered. However, the weather was generally too cold for more success. Maybe next time…