Moldova 2009

Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus

Moldova 2009

Postby Vlad Cioflec » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:19 pm

Hi there,

Just came back from the traditional summer herping vacation in Basarabia (aka Republic of Moldova) and can`t wait to fill you in on the details. :D

So, we spent a couple of weeks exploring some very interesting spots, from the Prut river valley to the border of the self proclaimed Republic of Transnistria; from the old broad leaved forests around Chisinau to the beautiful Nistru river rocky slopes and everywhere in between.

Map.JPG


Here`s our new mean-lean-road-crusing machine that we used to work the roads in search of basking herps and DORs. Not much luck in this department though. No live specimens, just some very flat Grass Snakes and Smooth Snakes.
DOR Coronella austriaca:
C. austriaca.JPG


A few habitat shots. First, the large forested area in the middle of Moldova.

Codrii Natural Park.JPG


And the Nistru River, with the self proclaimed Transnistria Republic. It`s said to have some cool snake areas, but i`m not willing to risk my life finding out.

Nistru river.JPG


On to the herps, and other critters now.

The temperatures were very high, and as the result many lakes and ponds completely dried out. :roll: It took me quite some effort to come up with this guy, the Fire-Bellied Toad. It was found in a small cattle watering hole.

B. bombina.JPG


The other two amphibians we found were much easier though. The Marsh Frogs were quite abundant around some of the reservoirs, and the Green Toads came to us really, as they live in the backyard. ;)

P. ridibundus.JPG


E. viridis.JPG


Have a look at some more beautiful landscapes and herping spots:

Habitat 1.JPG


Habitat 8.JPG


Church.JPG


And their wildlife:

A Green Lizard
L. viridis.JPG


Creepy-crawly
Spider.JPG


Moth
Moth.JPG


While birding one evening, we came across a shipwreck:

Habitat 9.JPG


Poking around revealed some fast grass snakes ;) and a friendly Balkan Wall Lizard:

N. natrix.JPG


P. tauricus.JPG


A family of hobbies accepted our precence, and allowed us to take some pictures, but the neat thing to watch was a tough soviet woodpecker trying to break through the bark of this peculiar tree. :D You gotta be strong in order to survive in a communist country. :mrgreen:

Falco.JPG


Pole.JPG


I saved the best for last.

First, the endangered European Pond Turtle. Coming from Romania, i am used to see them all the time, and i kinda take them for granted. But here it only lives in a very few water bodies. Pollution and habitat loss really took their toll.

0 E. orbicularis.JPG


Sharing it`s habitat were a few dozens of Sand Lizards, but they were just so darn fast, i had to give up upon taking their picture after a few hours of running around like crazy in the midday sun. :D . Had to settle for this pretty fungi instead. :)

1 Fungi.JPG


But the coolest find of the whole trip was encountered here:

Habitat 6.JPG


The endangered Large Whip Snake : :D

0 D. caspius.JPG


We celebrated the capture with lots of great moldavian wine, and some local cuisine:

5 Yummy.JPG


While driving to the border, we saw an an old bus station and decided to check it out. Wouldn`t you know it, my wife found one last herp. :P I really wanted a pic of this one ;) :

2 L. agilis.JPG
Lacerta agilis


That`s about it, thanks for reading, and hope you enjoyed our trip report .

Till next time,
Happy Herping!
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Vlad Cioflec
 
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Re: Moldova 2009

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:19 am

I like the food pic most (or the food in the pic????) :D
Just kiding!
Very nice report, my favorite pic is the whip snake!
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Jürgen Gebhart
 
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Re: Moldova 2009

Postby Peter Oefinger » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:58 am

I agree with Jürgen: I had the joy to taste romanian food sometimes and still dreaming of sarmale and mititei... ;)
anyhow: it is interesting to see pictures from unknown European areas like Moldova.
Peter Oefinger
 
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