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Photographing reptiles in Spain

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Offline JaySteel

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« on: June 17, 2014, 23:44 PM »
Hi everyone,
I'm a keen wildlife photographer with a passion for herpetology. I'm also on the Committee for the Kent Reptile & Amphibian Group (conservation group) in the UK.
I'm currently on holiday in the area of La Zenia in Spain. I have just two days left of my holiday (Wednesday & Thursday). I'm desperate to find some native reptiles to photograph whilst here but I have zbsolutely no idea where to look out here. Can anyone help me please? I'd be willing to pay for the privilege if anyone was prepared to find some for me?

Thanks,

Jason
www.jason-steel.co.uk

Offline quentin

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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2014, 19:51 PM »
Jason,

I'm sorry to say that I am unable to help you out as you are too far away from where I live to offer any assistance. However  having seen the excellent photos on your website (www.jason-steel.co.uk) I'm confident you will be returning to the UK with some good photos.

As I'm sure you are aware it isn't that difficult to find reptiles in Spain and most habitats seem to have their own share. Very good luck with your trip and if you decide to holiday in Granada province in the near future I would be happy to meet up.

Thanks for mentioning your website - I enjoyed your photos and will now consider using yola to create my own site!

Andy




Offline JaySteel

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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2014, 15:00 PM »
Hi Andy,
Thanks for taking the time to reply to my request. Thanks for visiting my website and for your kind words of encouragement regarding my wildlife photos.

It's our last day in Spain today and I'm exhausted. I've stayed in different parts of Spain in previous years and I've always been able to find wildlife to photograph. La Zenia has proved to be quite a challenge this year though. In the past week despite much searching I have seen very few reptiles and no amphibians. But then I've been unable to find any streams or other sources of fresh water locally for amphibians. I found a small snake's sloughed skin so I know there are snakes here. I've just been unlucky in my search for them.

I have seen a couple of small Mediteranean Geckos that I've photographed against a white background. I have also found a large stockily built lizard which had a body length of around 30cm and a tail of a further 30cm. I'm not sure what it was yet. Unfortunately it was hiding deep in a prickly bush so I couldn't get a photo.

I very much appreciate your offer of help in the Granada Province. Good luck creating your website. I'd love to have a look when it's ready.

Jason
www.jason-steel.co.uk

Offline quentin

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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 17:34 PM »
Jason,

Glad to hear you are exhausted! At least you made an effort. To be honest I had to check where La Zenia is - I assume it is between Alicante and Cartagena. If so then it looks like there are lagoons just to the north. Santa Pola, just south of Alicante, is a great place for birdwatching and also shows promise for reptiles and amphibians. Sometimes it seems that "holidays" are spent largely in the car trying to find good locations. It's probably always worthwhile asking on Iberianature about possible sites before you set off. They seem like a friendly bunch here....

I've been thinking about having my own website for years. Meanwhile I have been posting photos on flickr but have recently become disillusioned, partly because my motives are somewhat suspect. Have you been happy with using yola? I've attached my flickr address so you can see the hodgepodge of images I've uploaded over the last few years. There are a few reptiles there amongst the landscapes, portraits, plants, snapshots and all the other things that have attracted my interest.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/quentinsimages/page1/

In case you begin to flag before you reach this one I'll give you a short cut as it's one of my favourite reptile photos.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/quentinsimages/9662764207/

Hope you had a good trip despite the paucity of reptiles!

Andy

Offline Clive

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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2014, 12:58 PM »
Hi Jason, welcome to the forum of  sign

If you have anything in your images collection from Spain that you need help with identifying just post a picture up on the relevant board (After 3 posts you can upload images). I am sure someone here will help out. And feel free to post here anytime for help with future trip planning.

Beautiful images on your website.

Re websites Quentin (Andy) ... All my sites are built on Joomla or Wordpress also excellent platforms to display your work

Regards

Clive
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Offline Sue

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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2014, 11:40 AM »
Hi Jason,
I have noticed that the amphibian breeding in SW Andaluciá has suffered during this winter from very late rainfall. Those that need only temporary ponds and puddles missed out on autumn breeding as the puddles didn't form until the end of December! So perhaps the area that you visited suffered from a similar problem. Perezi's frog however, seem to be doing just fine.
A lack of snakes and lizards does seem unusual though, the lizards here are as normal, and with finding snakes it really seems to be down to luck.
All in all, a good reason to return to Iberia and try again!!

Hi Quentin, I love the shot of the snake with prey!
Thinking of visiting the beautiful Sierra de Grazalema in Andalucia?
www.grazalemaguide.com

Offline Petrea

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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2014, 14:05 PM »
Around here we've got lots of lizzards, more than usual. And I've already seen more snakes than I usually see during the whole season! That may be a coincidence , of course!

Saludos
Petrea
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Offline JaySteel

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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2014, 18:20 PM »
Thank you all for your replies and your warm welcome.

I've been photographing herps in the UK for some time now. I regularly survey local sites to me for Vipera berus and although I've learned their habits and preferred basking areas there is still an unpredictable element of luck involved in finding them on any given day.

I think I was just unlucky in Spain this time. I was surprised by the lack of geckos in the La Zenia area though.
Our previous holidays in Torremolinos and Calahonda have shown Tarentola mauritanica to be very well established and very easy to find in both areas. In Calahonda our hotel had about 30 of these geckos on a single wall each night! Hemidactylus turcicus were also present but not nearly in such great numbers where we stayed.

This year though in La Zenia I only managed to find 5 Hemidactylus turcicus throughout the entire week and we didn't manage to see any Tarentola mauritanica at all.

I was also unlucky not to see any snakes this year. Other people from our group had a 4ft+ Montpellier Snake slither across the road right in front of their car on the way to San Miguel. And yet I spent the entire day in the same area searching for snakes and found none. I did however see my first Ocellated Lizard (Timon lepidus). This is the largest wild lizard I have seen yet. Unfortunately it was hiding deep in a prickly bush and I couldn't get access to it or get a photo of it. I could've caught it by the tip of its tail but there was no way that I was going to risk hurting this beautiful creature for the sake of a photo.

I'll be sure to return to Spain on future holidays and hopefully I'll have more success with finding Spanish herps to photograph. I wish I could take a trip out there in the spring when the reptiles are easier to find basking. Unfortunately though my trips are always family holidays and my family want the hot summer weather.

Jason

Offline JaySteel

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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2014, 18:39 PM »
Thanks for the links Andy. You've taken some great shots. The male frog attempting to mate with the female toad is a great capture as is the Smooth Snake with the Sand Lizard prey. And you've also managed to photograph a Horseshoe Whip Snake. I saw a couple of these in Torremolinos but both were basking high on a 10ft wall and were impossible to photograph.

Jason

Offline JaySteel

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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2014, 20:02 PM »
Here's one of the Turkish Geckos that I found this year. It only wanted to sit still for me when perched on one of my lenses!


Jason