Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

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Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Thomas Reich » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:03 am

From May 26th to June 3rd I took part in a silvicultural oriented group tour through southern Bulgaria that was organised by a Bulgarian forest scientist, who works at the same institute as I do. Because searching for reptiles and amphibians wasn't really possible during the group travel, I subsequently added four days on my own.

I spent two days of intense searching at the Black Sea coast and two days of mainly driving from Burgas back to Sofia via the Danube area. Thanks to almost perfect "reptile weather" during most of the two search days, I was lucky to find a high number of snakes within 48 hours (9 species). Here are some pictures.

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A must-see if you visit Sofia

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Fresh bear tracks near Trigrad in the Rhodope Mountains

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Thanks god that one was allowed to breathe :)


My herpetological highlights:

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Darevskia praticola in a broadleaf forest in the Strandzha hills. We came here to see Rhododendron ponticum.

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Darevskia next to Bufo bufo (in situ)

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My most wanted! Platyceps collaris in situ

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Close-up. I tried to catch it, but the little snake slippered through my fingers. So I came back the second day and...

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...this time I wasn't too stupid to catch it. :D The snake was released after a few minutes at the exact spot where it was found.

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At this spot I was searching for another highlight.

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After a while I found an adult Elaphe sauromates. I had only seen juveniles and a dying adult of this species up to now.

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back to freedom


Some other observations:

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The very common Pseudopus apodus

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Emys orbicularis was surprisingly numerous, too.

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Male Vipera ammodytes in the herbs

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A female 30 meters away

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Mating season I

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Mating season II

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Dolichophis caspius was seen several times.

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One of three Zamenis longissimus

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During the search for Anguis colchica, which would have been a new species for me, I found a small Xerotyphlops vermicularis. Anguis was only found DOR.

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A wonderful wetland that I had detected on Google Earth when preparing the searches.

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Here I found Hyla orientalis, a new species for me

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This fat Natrix had just caught a marsh frog.

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Triturus ivanbureschi, another new species for my photo collection, from a different pond

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One of several bunches of bats that were hanging in abandoned buildings. I identified at least 2 different species in this bunch.

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Zerynthia polyxena

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Argynnis pandora

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Aporia crataegi

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Apatura cf. metis

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Danube river near Tutrakan

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I once again failed to find Triturus dobrogicus :( , but a lot of Pelobates were out. I think it should be fuscus, isn't it?

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Rana dalmatina

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Bombina bombina

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Bufotes viridis

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On the way back to Sofia I made a random stop. This place turned out to be a top site for European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus).

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At least 20-30 individuals were running around in a close distance.

I very much liked to herp in Bulgarias beautiful landscapes, where still a lot of nature is left. I really hope that this will also be the case in the further future.
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Re: Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:00 am

How did you find the Triturus? With a net at night?
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Re: Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:09 am

very nice, big Congrats Thomas!
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Re: Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Mario Schweiger » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:23 am

you found a lot of species!
and, as usual, great photos ;)
Yes, it is P. fuscus.
Mario (Admin)

Please visit also my personal Herp-site vipersgarden.at
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Re: Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Guillaume Gomard » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:25 am

Not only these species (collaris, caspius, sauromates) are not often shown, but Bulgaria is in general a country which is not so often visited. This might change after the nice collection of pictures you are showing here! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Ilian Velikov » Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:40 am

Aaaah, home! You did really good! Great species and very nice that you observed some interesting Natrix behavior like mating and hunting. Many thanks for posting this and I'm glad you enjoyed your visit there.
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Re: Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Bobby Bok » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:11 am

I don't think I have ever seen an in situ shot of Platyceps collaris before! What a great succesful minitrip you had. Simply amazing, even with so few days I think this is the best Bulagria tripreport I have seen to date. Congrats on the finds Thomas and needless to say I am very jealous ;) Bulgaria is definitely on the menu for next year, maybe as a school excursion :)
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Re: Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Laura Bok » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:47 am

Awesome, Thomas! Luckily you stressed it again and said explicitly "48 hours", otherwise I would have been sure you made a typo and meant "two weeks" instead of "two days"...
How is that even possible to see so many species in such limited time, and take beautiful pictures as well? I am honestly impressed.
Congratulations and thanks for sharing!
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Re: Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Frédéric Seyffarth » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:03 pm

:o :o :o
Platyceps and sauromates make me jealous!
Very nice shots, my favorite is the bear track...
Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Bulgaria, with some species that aren't shown often

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:01 pm

Bobby Bok wrote:I think this is the best Bulagria tripreport I have seen to date.

Tsss... Only because it has two of your failures staring you in the face. :twisted:
(Just teasing, guys. I'm not writing 'Just teasing, B.' because he knows).

Good job! Probably will go back there next year as well. Great memories require rejuvenating. And like Bobby wrote, an in situ collaris is a real treat! They are tiny, right?
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