Portugal, Spain, Andorra


Postby Paul Lambourne » Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:46 pm

Well, it's been a few weeks since my splendid, but tick deficient trip with team Netherlands to Malta. So after Christmas festivities I packed a small bag and left my house at omg o clock and headed through the light snow falls for the airport... Time to try and end the tick drought in the Balearic's ..

I landed early at Mallorca and waited for Bobby and Laura to arrive, soon I saw the languid form of Mr B and Laura striding along the concourse and after the usual fondelings we collected the car. A short drive later we arrived at alcudia , where waiting at the hotel was another team member.. Sjoerd .. He had been on the island since before Christmas and had been adopted by a Mallorcan family, as one would adopt a chubby stray puppy. More fondeling occurred and we left for our first potential tick.. The very rare Mallorcan midwife toad. This time Laura's sedate driving style was replaced by Sjeords .. He drives a car like he stole it. We arrived at the alytes site, mountainous and beautiful, we walked into the gorge and began searching.. Soon the last member of our international team arrived Gert jan.. He was staying on the island with his family for Christmas.He brought beer and kusjes.. We searched to no avail, Good habitat but no luck..

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My lack of new species continuing to follow me like the black dog of failure. Gert jan had visited another site previously, so we decided to visit that instead.. A nice steep climb out of the valley and we were on our way.. This time Gert jan drove.. Fast and smooth like a weasel on a skateboard. We arrived at the site, Another beautiful George and a steep scramble down led us to a water source. He we found tadpoles.. I was pleased but only a pencil tick till I see adults.. But at least the black dog of failure had been kept on A short lead. As the light faded and the temperature dropped steadily we scrambled out of the valley.. Sjeord and Gert jan like mountain goats, myself more like a mountain hippo.. We dropped Gert jan off at his holiday villa and popped in to say hi to his lovely children and even lovelier wife :D
Sjeord by popping in meant drinking as much beer as he could in half an hour, so I drove back to our Accom .. A joy of narrow streets in a car with the steering wheel pedals and gear leaver on the wrong side.. Driving on the incorrect side of the road.. But somehow we made it and had a splendid meal and beers in a small restaurant inhabited by Sjeords adopted family. We went off to our respective hotels all very tired due to the early start. I shared with Sjeord so a routine of push ups and sit ups was mandatory before bed. Last tea 03.15. Before leaving home !!!

Up early next day and after searching for tea, and having to settle for coffee( actually quite good) we bought some supplies and meet Bobby and Laura for another chance to increase the tick list. The weather however was not ideal.. Rain and low temperatures meant the black dog of failure was straining at the leach.We headed for some habitat close to our accom.. Bobby a closet birder at heart had some potential ticks here, At the first site the heavens opened and soon we were wetter than otters pockets… so like brave herpers we ran back to the car.. the second site was much better, a little bit of sun, saline swamps and plenty to flip.. lots of geckos were quickly found, then a stalk through the vegetation to try and photograph very wary flamingos… not much success with the flamingos, a phot session with a stunning macroprotodon cheered us all up.




Back in the car we headed for a site for Lilfords wall lizard..Bobby, Laura and Sjoerd had all ready ticked this species, but it was a new tick for me. We arrived at the site, a rocky prominence, but the weather looked pants, over cast, with waves crashing against the rocks leaving a lot of spray..I could feel the black dog of failure waiting to hump my leg.. but then I saw a Lilfords wall lizard scuttle across the rocks and into a fissure. Soon a second was seen, and then Sjeord found a lovely black last a bono fido new tick.. I looked round..the black dog was gone…

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Lilfordi habitat

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Lilfords eye view of the dandy of Euro Field herping

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After a celebratory meal we headed along the coast to another site, but apart from a nice hoopoe and some geckos nothing was seen.. temps had dropped like pensioners on an icy day, so we headed to another site in the hope of finding the Balearic green toad.. after a great deal of searching in the dark we decided to call it a day and head back to the car.. Bobby, Sjoerd and myself suggested the easy option of walking back via the tarmac road, Laura however suggested retracing our steps through the habitat as it was now much later, we agreed ( Laura is quite scary) and on the track we found a lovely green toad. After a few pics we headed off to eat, sleep and recharge for the morning.. after I had done my 100 push ups for Sjoerd finding the wall lizard.. new rule of 100 push ups for every new tick.. now 44 hours since last cup of tea..cold turkey..crack is easier to give up…



Up early, coffee, cake and in the car to meet Gert Jan and look for alytes.. after a communication SNAFU we arrived at the summit of the mountain without Gert Jan, temps were colder than my ex wife, so we were not hopeful, as we flipped rocks and fallen trees a figure bounded into view with a load Arf!! Gert Jan arrived.. we found lots of tadpoles but again sadly no adults.. so before we all died of hypothermia( except Sjeord as, like a seal, he has a great deal of body fat to insulate him) we headed back down the mountain.. at the parking spot we meet up with Gert jans children, and lovely wife (did I mention that) and headed off to a coastal spot, here there was a little bit of sun, and the potential for yet another new tick for me.. the Ibiza wall lizard..Bobby quickly found a juvenile, however adults seemed hard to come by.. Sjeord manfullly stripped off and swam to a small island to try and find some.. however in the mean time Gert jans daughter strolled casually up to me and handed me a stunning adult with a look that said her list was much greater than mine. I Happily photographed the lizards as Sjeord emerged from the sea.. he had found geckos but no wall lizards.. we chucked a towel at him and pointed out that a seven year old girl was a more efficient herper than him..he needed a tissue…


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After another tick putting the black dog of failure to sleep, we headed off en mass for beer and scoffs, Gert Jan found us a restaurant, and Laura using her womanly wiles, and general serial killer aura got us seated and fed very quickly.. much drink flowed..GertJan had a magic glass of wine that refilled all by itself.. we left some time later, said teary good byes to Gert Jan and Family and headed back to our accom, Bobby, as everyone knows is an old lush, and Sjeord needs no encouragement, so once back in Alcudia, we went out for more drinks..Laura telling stories of Unicorn nonces and Bobby meeting his Spanish twin… a very funny night.. being old I decided enough was enough and turned in.. too long without tea to cope rationally…Bobby and Sjoerd however partied till sparrows fart.

I was awoken by Sjeords alarm at 06:00 and looking at the state of him decided the only option was to drive him to the airport and pour him on the plane.. I miracualously arrived safely at the airport, given my lack of tea and the wrong side of the road business.. I said goodbye to Sjoerd, who by this time had a face like a tissue a walrus had wiped its bottom on and stank like a tarts handbag.. so much alcohol was seeping out of his pores that naked flames were banned from within 500m of him.

Now as I had dropped Sjeord of so early I had hours to kill, so I got a bus into Palma and headed for the Cathedral to try and take more pics of Ibiza wall was against me so I went for breakfast and wondered the streets.. I got propositioned by a prostitute.. and was not sure what offended me most.. the fact that she thought I frequented prostitutes or the fact that I would entertain sleeping with a fat girl..any how, I declined and jumped on the bus back to the airport, two stops into the journey the sun came out.. I had two hours till I needed to be at the airport.. like a good herper I jumped off at the next stop and walked double time back to the Cathedral.. the walk took me half an hour so I estimated I had around half an hour to get some pics and get back on a bus to be at the airport in time.. after only a few minutes of sun I spotted a couple of juveniles, and finally a lovely green adult.. the lizards were among the most skittish of any podarcis I’ve seen.. so zoom lens pics only.. after snatchiung a few shots I headed for the airport and just made my flight.. home for decent tea…




As always a huge thanks to the trip members, its always great to see new herps, but it’s the people that make the trips memorable.. Thanks to Bobby for his organisation and Gert Jan and Sjeord for driving and fitness protocols.. thanks to Laura for looking after us all.. and a huge thanks to all for making me laugh so much...

Counting the days till the next trip….

Thanks for looking

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Paul Lambourne
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Re: Mallorca

Postby Bobby Bok » Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:48 pm

Uncle Pauli! It was a pleasure herping with you once again, hope to repeat it soon again in 2015! The story made me laugh out loud more than once :lol: Fantastic pictures as well!
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Bobby Bok
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Re: Mallorca

Postby GertJan Verspui » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:06 am

Same here Nipper, great story, only facts, Sjoerd is fat, but still strong, so its ok...great pics and your company was much appreciated as always, huge thanks to the christmas presents, not only your missus likes me wearing them, but also my lovely wife..

Make sure to get a little fitter (today is burpee-day, at least 100) so we can all run uphill next trip...which could be Oman with me and our good but only sometimes grumpy friend Jürgen!!
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Re: Mallorca

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:59 am

Paula, as usual I love to read your reports!!!
Open your eyes, the black dog is not sleeping, if you don`t find your tick snakes the black dog is still on your back and he is awake!
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Jürgen Gebhart
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Re: Mallorca

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:03 am

GertJan Verspui wrote:...which could be Oman with me and our good but only sometimes grumpy friend Jürgen!!

GJ please allow me to correct you, I`m not sometimes grumpy, I`m allways grumpy! That`s why People love to do Trips with me!

and I`m not your friend!
(Maybe, if you catch the Cobra for me, I will Change my mind)
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Jürgen Gebhart
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Re: Mallorca

Postby Peter Oefinger » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:46 pm

Thanks for this report, Paul - seems to be a realistic documentation of the drama which happened on Mallorca... ;)
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