Italy & Switzerland - may 2018

Italy & Switzerland - may 2018

Postby Thor Hakonsen » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:16 am

I got invited to join «ze Germans» for a short trip to Piemonte in the italian alps, to look for Vipera walser early may in 2018, and who could say no to trip like that ?

We drove from Frankfurt in Germany, and on the way back from Italy we decied to also look for Vipera aspis atra in the Swiss alps. This route also gave me the opportunity to see Marmots and Chamois!

Many thank to Michael, Alexander and Jürg for inviting me on this amazing trip. And also a great thanks to Dario for giving us the tip of a great valley to check out (even though the trip up there got spoiled by the weather)

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They habitat and scenery in the Italian alps is amazing – and well worth a visit even without finding vipers!

What was very interesting with this trip, is that many of the species we find is the exact same as we have far up north in Norway, like the smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), slow worm (Anguis fragilis) and viviparous lizard (Zootoca viviparus)

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Smooth Snakes (Coronalla austriaca) from Piemonte, Italy

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Alexander Pieh out looking for reptiles in the late morning. Piemonte, Italy

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When out looking for reptiles, one often also cross path with other animals and birds.
Here a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in the slopes. Piemonte, Italy

But none of the above was the goal for this trip. We wanted to find the Walser viper (Vipera walser), that is a endemic species for this small region in Piemonte.
We walked many miles in search for it, up and down steep rock slides and slopes in the mountains.

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ürg Navrade on his way up to a location for V.walser..
..only to find a huge rain storm to start when we came to the spot..

But the good thing with that weather, is that we got to find a fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra)

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But in the end, we got lucky – Jürg spotted a snake going in to hiding, and we came back a bit later and fortunatly Alexander was able to control it so that we was able to get a good look at this beatiful creature, a male Walser Viper.

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After the success in Piemonte, on our way back to Germany we stopped in a beatiful valley in the swiss alps to look for V.aspis. And what a stop it was. We found several V.aspis, and also I got to see marmots and chamois. This is a place I will need to visit again in the future!!

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The valley we visited in Switzerland.

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There where many marmots (Marmota marmota) on the sides of the road and in the slopes in the valley

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The first Asp Viper (Vipera aspis) we found was a beatiful melanistic female, just when the sun finally peeked through the skies.

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After this, Alexander and Jürg both found some large «normal» colored specimens some hundres meters from each other.

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The team for the trip (from right), Alexander Pieh, Thor Håkonsen, Jürg Navrade and Michael Wilms
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Thor Hakonsen
 
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Re: Italy & Switzerland - may 2018

Postby Bobby Bok » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:11 pm

That asp viper valley indeed sounds fantastic! Great post!
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Re: Italy & Switzerland - may 2018

Postby Alexander Pieh » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:06 pm

Yes, the locality in Switzerland is amazing!
Thank you, Mario, for showing me the place in 2010!
Always again to Jörg, Michael and Thor!
Absolutely Graet fotos Thor!
Jörg and me made a second short trip to Wallis and the "Valley" in september.
Here some Aspis pics.
PIH_Vipera_male.jpg
Vipera aspis male

PIH_V.a.-weiblich.jpg

PIH_V.a,portrait.jpg

On a higher altitude we saw also two Vipera berus.
PIH_berus-CH.jpg

However, whats live without Amphibians?
PIH_S.atra.jpg

Summer is coming!
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