Montenegro 2017 July

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Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:19 pm

I was accommodated the whole week in Ulcinj. My main target for this trip was to take photos of Triturus macedonicus. I landed in Podgorica and then bus transfer to Ulcinj during which I saw Skadar Lake but unfortunately I had no chance to herp there and find Pelophylax shqipericus.
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I arrived in afternoon, after leaving luggage in hotel I went to Port Milena. Water was salty there, some crabs and fish but no Natrix or sweetwater turtles were observed however other fieldherprs did see them there. When in coniferous little woods next to beach, I heard noise in a shrubs but I could not see any tortoise and all the more I could not grab it because the shrub was prickly. When I approached the noise died down.
Next day I went to Velika Plaza to snorkel. Near that place I found juvenile specimen of Natrix tessellata under trash on a bank of the river which links Salina with the sea.
habitat of Natrix tessellata
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Natrix tessellata
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My hands smelt of stale fish after handling the snake.

Then I went into a sort of cliff where I found basking adult Balkan Whip Snake (Hierophis gemonensis)
in situ
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Next day I was in the Bay of Kotor visiting Perast and Kotor.

Following day I visited Ada Bojana for a moment and found male (?) of Podarcis muralis muralis
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habitat of Podarcis muralis muralis
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Then snorkeling, visiting Sveti Stefan and Budva. In afternoon I was flipping stones in olive grove in Valdanos and found nothing :(

Next day I was taken by hotel bus to Copacabana beach. I went into mainland and found fleeing juvenile lizards and some ponds with fish and marsh frogs (Pelophylax ridibundus kurtmuelleri), no snakes or turtles! I thought that some of these might be Albanian Pool Frogs but Ana Vujović, Montenegrin herpetologist told me that this spcies is absent in Montenegro and one needs DNA data to determine the species.
The habitat
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Pelophylax ridibundus kurtmuelleri
juvenile
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specimen during metamorphosis
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adults
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Then near Copacabana beach I found female (?) of Podarcis melisellensis fiumanus
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habitat of Podarcis melisellensis fiumanus
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Rana esculenta in Montenegro?
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In evening I found juvenile Podarcis melisellensis fiumanus near road next to my hotel.
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habitat of juvenile Podarcis melisellensis fiumanus
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Next day was dedicated to Ada Bojana known for high density population of brightly coloured swimming and tree climbing Horned Vipers. I went along Velika Plaza in direction of Ada Bojana and found dead Pseupodus apodus next to a road, it was not driven over so I have no idea why it died, maybe it died naturally?
dead Pseupodu apodus
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Then thanks to protips from Tomaz Jagar I headed toward a wood with a pond in which newts were observed. On my way there I found DOR Anguis graeca.
DOR Anguis graeca
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I started searching the ponds but I saw no water in the place where according to google maps it should be, moreover bush was dense and prickly. But I did hear a Testudo hermanni boettgeri and managed to take it from prickly bush to take few photos.

adult male Testudo hermanni boettgeri
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note horny tip of a tail
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habitat of adult Testudo hermanni boettgeri
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In Ada Bojana I did not step deep into woods because I did not want to step on any viper. I was there in early afternoon walking a patch recommended by Clive Brignull and I flipped some flat trash and stones but found only juvenile natrix. These trash and stones to flip looked as if they were recently flipped. On my way I spotted almost completely dried up forest pond with 2 Natrix natrix persa, one, bigger one run away deeper into forest but second one, subadult stayed still so that I could take the photo below.
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The island has dense vegetation so lizards were basking in places illuminated by light and these places were next to a road becauase there are no trees to make shade- but these trees on both sides of road were so big that they made some shade nevertheless.
I found Podarcis muralis muralis
adult males
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and adult Podarcis melisellensis fiumanus
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In afternoon I made a walk in Ulcinj and found floded meadow and I got to know very friendly Kosovian family which was on their vacation and was interested in me herping near their apartment. They even rented me wellingtons and told me about their observations of hedgehogs and invited me to visit the meadow at night to hear mating calls of the frogs.

habitat of juvenile and (probably) tadpoles of Rana dalmatina, juvenile of (probably) Pelophylax ridibundus kurtmuelleri, adult of this species and larvas and freshly metamorphosed Lissotriton vulgaris graecus
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the tadpoles
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recently metamorphosed juvenile of probably Pelophylax ridibundus kurtmuelleri
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juveniles of Rana dalmatina
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freshly metamorphosed Lissotriton vulgaris graecus
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underside
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larvas of Lissotriton vulgaris graecus
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adult Pelophylax ridibundus kurtmuelleri
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The next day I went to find Pseupodus apodus but I did not recognize it basking and it ran away fast when it heard me approaching. It was quarter past 9am.
The habitat in which I found adult living Pseupodus apodus- Ulcinj.
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As to herptiles I just managed to take photo of a male of Podarcis melisellensis fiumanus in breeding colours
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Next day I woke up at 6am because it was my last day in Montenegro and I was desperate to find Pseupodus apodus as I had no photo of alive specimen. When I was walking to the place where I found this species the day before I noticed subadult male of Lacerta viridis viridis cf. 'Adriatic' group.
subadult male of Lacerta viridis viridis cf. 'Adriatic' group
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when i approached closer the lizard hid and then climbed a shrub
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Few meters away I found another lizard of this species but with more pronounced blue .
adult male of Lacerta viridis viridis cf. 'Adriatic' group
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Habitat of Lacerta viridis viridis cf. 'Adriatic' group
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Then i proceeded uphill and observed juvenile Podarcis melisellensis fiumanus
juvenile Podarcis melisellensis fiumanus
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Going further uphill I noticed a struggling tortoise on its back so I helped it and took few pics. I think it might be a female.

adult Testudo hermanni boettgeri
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eating
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its shell looked damaged, it was probably bitten by a dog or a jackal
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habitat of Testudo hermanni boettgeri
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After returning to the city I started looking for sweetwater turtles because I heard that they live in a canal despite the fact that water there is dirty. I observed 2 basking specimens of Emys orbicularis hellenica fleeing into water but I managed to take only one crappy photo
adult Emys orbicularis hellenica
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habitat of Emys orbicularis hellenica
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that's all folks :)
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Re: Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:38 pm

My hands smelt of stale fish after handling the snake.

I've been told that lemon juice is the best remedy, even for Natrix natrix, better than any soap...
I prefer to just avoid handling these two species, although carrying a few lemons in the backpack
is really not that difficult...

BTW, no photo of Pseudopus apodus (alive) after all? Bad luck. Well, shit does happen.
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Re: Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:46 pm

Berislav Horvatic wrote:
My hands smelt of stale fish after handling the snake.

I've been told that lemon juice is the best remedy, even for Natrix natrix, better than any soap...
I prefer to just avoid handling these two species, although carrying a few lemons in the backpack
is really not that difficult...

BTW, no photo of Pseudopus apodus (alive) after all? Bad luck. Well, shit does happen.

In Andalusia I was handling Natrix maura and it did not smell bad. Was it only because it was a juvenile?

Unfortunately no photo of alive Pseupodus apodus :( but I have an incentive to go back to this region of Balkans because I also have no photo of Triturus macedonicus so maybe in future I will manage to take photo of alive Pseupodus apodus
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Re: Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:38 pm

Just to tease you:

BH_NN_2597_RED.jpg
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Re: Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:49 pm

Berislav Horvatic wrote:Just to tease you:

BH_NN_2597_RED.jpg

the photo is not symetrical!
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Re: Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:57 pm

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:the photo is not symetrical!

How about this one? Well, still not perfectly symmetrical...

BH_NN_2577_RED.jpg
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Re: Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:02 pm

Yes, they are quick, but once caught, they do nothing at all, for as long as you’re around...
One of my favourite photos - a tired fieldherper relaxing at the end of a busy day:

Be2875_RED.jpg

The poor beast relaxing too, after a tedious photosession (eight of us!). Doesn't even try to move.
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Re: Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:30 pm

Image
Does not it look like Albanian Pool Frog? Smooth skin, not big size, big black spots on back, yellow colour, pretty high metatarsal tubercle...
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Re: Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Clive Brignull » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:41 pm

Pelophylax shqipericus not found in Montenegro according to your Montenegrin herpotologist ???. The species I believe is to be found in and around Lake Skadar which borders both Albania and Montenegro.
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Re: Montenegro 2017 July

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:15 pm

Clive Brignull wrote:Pelophylax shqipericus not found in Montenegro according to your Montenegrin herpotologist ???. The species I believe is to be found in and around Lake Skadar which borders both Albania and Montenegro.

Of course.
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