LOCAL OBSERVATIONS 2007 - January
Saturday 20th January 2007
Conditions : a few scattered clouds. No wind to slight breeze.
Temperature : around 20 C
Time of observations : 11h00 to 14h00
A calm warm day and I wanted to check out the Montpellier snake hot spot. As I arrived I started to look and advance slowly through the habitat and I suddenly heard a rock tumbling down the small hill like mud dune covered with bushes, I went slowly closer and saw fantastic Malpolon monspessulanus scales, a huge male specimen which must have measured between 1.2 to 1.5 m long, he got into his refuge before I could get to him. Very happy to find out that there were still specimens here I moved onto another place where I had observed Malpolon monspessulanus. I was cycling through a small forest and upon entry I saw dashing into the bushes an adult female Lacerta bilineata. Next to the forest runs a river which in certain parts of the year, dries up, here there were around 10 Pelophylax sp. specimens. Shortly later as I was cycling on the road, I heard a small rustle on the side of the road, as I swiftly turned round, I saw a small lizard dash under a rusty wheel. I prepared myself, overturned the wheel and caught the small Timon lepidus. I photographed it, one of there photos is interesting as it shows lizard locomotion:
I then went to the local waterway where there are often Natrix maura in spring, in winter this waterway is dry, but due to the warmest weather in January for years, the waterway was full! Here I only found another small Timon lepidus. I headed back to the Montpellier snake hot spot and found the same specimen close to where I first observed it, again, he was too close to his den. I went back home at around 12h45 and decided to drink some water, have something to eat... I went back to the Montpellier snake hot spot at 13h30, here I found 3 small Psammodromus algirus and then again the male Malpolon monspessulanus, I decided to go a bit further and found another male Malpolon monspessulanus, this one however was much faster then the first.
Sunday 7th January 2007
Conditions : a few scattered clouds, dark clouds on the horizon. No wind to slight breeze.
Temperature : around 20 C
Time of observations : 15h30 to 17h00
A quite warm day for January, I looked at the Malpolon monspessulanus hot spot yesterday with no luck, I thought I would pay another visit today. But first off a little rummage near the small damp forest type area near the river. This place usually has one large pond and 2 to 3 smaller ones as water filters from the field drainage through the forest and into the river. Here it was quite cooler and not much sunlight can get in because of the thick bushes and trees. I previously (last year) found at this spot Bufo bufo, Hyla meridionalis, Discoglossus pictus, Pelophylax sp., Lissotriton helveticus, Natrix maura, Anguis fragilis and in previous years the odd Lacerta bilineata and one story of a Vipera aspis which seems false. I wasn't expecting much from reptiles, however I had a few years back found a hibernating Natrix maura under a larger than thought (at the time of removing it) tree stump. As I got there I found that there was only little water in the ponds, I turned over some dead tree trunks and found 3 Discoglossus pictus juveniles, which all 3 showed a different pattern, one was uniform gold, another was very dark with a slight pattern, and the third was vividly marked on the front half of the body and then dull on the back half. They measured only about between 10 to 15 mm long :
These frogs were under the tree stump in the bottom left corner of this photo :
I moved onto the Malpolon monspessulanus hot spot but I only found a field mouse.