Postby Paul Lambourne » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:40 pm


I have to be honest with you, its a little embarrassing, but, well, I am, er, going through rather a dry patch…Despite a splendid team, in Romania/Bulgaria I missed two new species… Cannes and Nice… nothing, not a sausage, bugger all… unless the wall lizards at St Jeannet in the Alpes Cote d Azur are not just plain muralis…
So with high hopes I joined a team of Dutch gentlemen for a brief attempt at increasing my practically anorexic tick list in Malta..One potential tick in the form of Hemorrhois algirus..

I left rain drenched Blighty, obscenely early, and landed in sunny Valetta at 11:30 hrs.. team Holland were not due for another two and a half hours, so after briefly searching the airport grounds for herps, I had a charming sleep in the sun.. awoken by the romantic sounds of taxi drivers hawking up phlegm, I went into the terminal and soon spied the vision of loveliness that is Gert jan striding out of the arrivals hall.. after the usual ruffling of hair and bottom slapping, we arranged the hire car, whilst we waited for the remainder of the team, Sjoerd and Sjuul.. both sounding and looking like characters from Game of Thrones and both operating on Dutch time..

We jumped in the car, and had the pleasure of being driven by Gert Jan on the correct side of the road.. after only a few minutes(Malta is smaller than a pole dancers pants) we arrived at our first site.. an overgrown park near the Harbour in Valetta.. this park is home to the highest quality gay dogging and the infamous Algerian whip snake.. this snake is rarely seen.. Jeroens trip found three on the Island.. and since then there has been a few sporadic sightings, making the local paper..

We searched for hours, under the watchful gaze of bemused men in tight trousers.. many rocks were flipped, and a wealth of condoms, needles and other detritus was found.. no snakes.. despite warm temps.. around 21 degrees.. sunshine and suitable habitat, all that was found herp wise was some very chubby oscillated skinks and some geckos.. both Turkish and Moorish were in abundance.

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As the light faded, and fearing for the safety of our reputations.. and sphincters, we left the park and headed to our accom..

Our accom was managed by a charming cougar of a lady that, helped by the fact that Gert Jan cant keep his abs covered up within ten metres of anything with a womb, freely admitted she wanted to do special things with at least two of team Holland..despite many years of CQC training between us we beat a hasty retreat to our rooms.. we emerged later showered and rested and ventured to the restaurant where beer and scoffs were in abundance..Gert Jan bonded with the locals..if they were female and a size 8 and a pleasant evening was had .. I retired to my room, shared with Gert Jan, on the 7th floor.. no lifts were allowed..cardio rules.... and Sjoerd arrived.. he had found out that the basement of our hotel was a Pole dancing establishment.. apparently Dutch people are very interested in Polish traditional dancing.. I did not see them again to early in the morning……they must have danced their little socks off…

Next day, after a reasonable breakfast..I can only assume Britain’s colonial influence meant that the usual bizarre Euro breakfast, was replaced by tea, toast and marmalade..yummy.. we headed out.. once more bend over park, as it had become fondly known, was visited..I think Sjoerd was starting to quite like it.. again only skinks and geckos to be found, so we headed of to a different, better maintained park.. here the lovely Malta wall lizard, filfolensis, was very abundant. Gert Jan also found a juvenile chamelon which Sjoerd and Sjuul found as cute as the dancing girls..

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After many wall lizard pics we again searched here and two more sites for the snake… the light faded we headed to a lovely stream habitat and Sjoord quickly found a painted frog..

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then it was back to cougarville.. Again an evening of good food, beer and pleasant waitresses.. maybe not the Serbian one.. she was a bit scary..

Up early for my last chance of a whipsnake.. weather pants…

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a quick visit to the park, where the helpful gardener said he saw three snakes a few weeks ago..fighting the urge to stuff him in his own dustbin we took a few shots of wall lizards and then it was time for me to leave..

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A teary goodbye to team Netherlands.. it will be ten days before I catch up with them in the Balearics…. Thanks to the three of them for making me laugh,waffles and protecting me from naughty ladies.. Hopefully next trip, I will get a new tick..

As I sat waiting to board the plane, I got a message from Gert Jan.. they had found a snake.. I will let you read his report to find what it was…

Thanks Pauli
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Re: Malta

Postby Frédéric Seyffarth » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:22 pm

Your comments are so cool...
Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Malta

Postby Peter Oefinger » Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:31 am

Highly appreciated. Polish folklore dancing is fascinating, indeed.
Mind, that others would have done this trip just for the lizards - so don't care about that snake...
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Re: Malta

Postby GertJan Verspui » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:08 am

Damn Paul, love the Wall Lizard, you missed out on not much more, report will be made this weekend.
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Re: Malta

Postby Sjuul Verhaegh » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:08 pm

Paul, as Gj mentioned, you didn't miss that much of animals, but you did miss some great moments, love hurts..
Hope you enjoyed the waffles, see you next time!
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Re: Malta

Postby Bobby Bok » Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:00 pm

Oh my. That Wall Lizard is stunning and possibly already worth the trip! P. filfolensis has got to be one of the most pretty and brightly coloured Podarcis species.

Other than that, love the report. Its hilarious! But calling such a manly beast like a chameleon cute???

Gutted to see you all missed Algerian Whip Snake, would have loved to gain a bit more insight in this cryptic snake and its whereabouts on the island.
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Re: Malta

Postby Martti Niskanen » Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:10 pm

Nice stuff, Paul. A great report.
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Re: Malta

Postby Laura Bok » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:36 pm

And so the search for the elusive snake continues...

I hope you did not let the lack of new ticks ruin your mood, obviously Malta has so much more to too offer, and you came back with some very nice observations and great photos! These Wall Lizards are indeed stunning, these colours! And finding chameleons is also always worth a travel.

Thanks for sharing and making me laugh at least 10 times while reading your report,
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Re: Malta

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:25 am

Hilarious and great! Team Belgium still holds its price ;) :lol:
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Re: Malta

Postby Paul Lambourne » Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:14 pm


Sadly I think team Belgium will never be beaten.. I think numbers must be dwindling...

Thanks everyone for their kind comments!!


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