Island hopping pt 3 Malta

Island hopping pt 3 Malta

Postby Kevin Byrnes » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:30 pm

So, back to Malta again for the elusive Algerian whip snake Hemorrhois algirus.
Friday 26th April
After flying to Malta from Sicily, finding the airbnb, collecting some shopping and eating at a local restaurant I visited a local park where with the aid of a torch I soon found 3 Meditteranean Chameleons Chamaeleo chamaeleon. I then drove north to check out a site for Cat snakes Telescopus fallax but found only a pair of Meditteranean chameleons sleeping in the bushes.
Image2 by Kevin Byrnes, on Flickr

Image4 by Kevin Byrnes, on Flickr

Saturday 27th April
A hot day and a return to Valetta to search for the Algerian whip snake, we arrived at 11:30 which I felt was too late to begin searching. I stood on one of the walls and explained to Merri what they looked like and as I looked down I realised that I was staring at a large dark snake, a second later I realised that I was looking at another Western whip snake Hierophis viridiflavus which vanished back into the wall. This made me feel slightly confident, if we had seen a Western whip then maybe we could see an Algerian whip, just one photo, just one ! We searched the site finding the usual Ocellated skinks Chalcides ocellatus,Moorish geckos Tarentola mauritanica Italian wall lizards Podarcis siculus a meditteranean chameleon and several lonely men looking for fun. We searched another nearby site that has been good in the past but found only wall lizards.

Image5 by Kevin Byrnes, on Flickr

Image6 by Kevin Byrnes, on Flickr

Image7 by Kevin Byrnes, on Flickr

Image9 by Kevin Byrnes, on Flickr

Image10 by Kevin Byrnes, on Flickr

Sunday 28th April
Today was a repeat of yesterday except that we started at 10:30 but still no luck. I checked one area where I pulled a loose flake of stone from a wall and revealed a shed snake skin behind it!

Image11 by Kevin Byrnes, on Flickr

Monday 29th
I wondered whether it was too late and too hot when I start my search so left the house early forgetting that it was now Monday morning, the traffic was very busy and there was nowhere to park. I finally found somewhere but it was a 20 minute walk away so it was 9am by the time I got there. I had a good look around the site but once again found nothing, not surprising really considering the amount of men constantly walking around the paths. I had a shock at one point, as I searched one of the lower sections of the site I looked at the base of the wall and saw these 2 Ocellated skinks mating, I was convinced for a second or two that it was a whip snake curled up in the sun.

Image15 by Kevin Byrnes, on Flickr
In the evening we returned to a local park and I showed Merri how to search for Chameleons at night, she was delighted to find 2 .
Tuesday 30th
Failed again, a return trip is due at some point.Malta is changing so much now, everywhere you look the skyline is full of construction cranes and many roads are closed off. This was no help as we tried to get back to the airport, arriving so late that they luckily reopened the boarding gate and had to call the bus back to take us to the plane where we did the walk of shame through a crowded plane
Kevin Byrnes
 
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:44 am
Hometown: Stroud
country: England

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