• Kevin Esser

Portugal again, part I

After our very nice trip in 2020, we were sure to travel Portugal again at some point. However, we didn't think it would happen that soon... but several reasons led to it.


Since we are traveling with our baby for the first time, we wanted it to be a short and direct flight. The season was a bit too early for most other European countries and it's good that we already know the area relatively well. Besides, the Algarve is simply beautiful and always worth a trip!



Pieris brassicae - Large White
Pieris brassicae - Large White
Podarcis virescens - Geniez’s Wall Lizard
Podarcis virescens - Geniez’s Wall Lizard
Podarcis virescens - Geniez’s Wall Lizard
Patience made this portrait possible
It was quite cold and windy
ruins

During our first trip to Portugal we saw two Horseshoe Whip Snakes, but both disappeared quickly in stone walls (no pictures).


Therefore I was very happy about our first snake sighting on this trip:

Hemorrhois hippocrepis - Horseshoe Whip Snake
Hemorrhois hippocrepis - Horseshoe Whip Snake
Hemorrhois hippocrepis - Horseshoe Whip Snake

As usual our program consisted of a mix of beach and family time as well as hiking and herping. In the dunes and hills near the coast we were able to find some cool reptiles. For example three species we missed last time: Iberian Worm Lizard, Iberian Skink and a cute Iberian False Smooth Snake.



Rock Art
Rock Art
Blanus cinereus - Iberian Worm Lizard
Blanus cinereus - Iberian Worm Lizard
 Iberian Worm Lizard - portrait
Note the underdeveloped eye covered by skin
Chalcides bedriagai - Iberian Skink
Chalcides bedriagai - Iberian Skink
Chalcides bedriagai - Iberian Skink


Macroprotodon brevis - Iberian False Smooth Snake
Macroprotodon brevis - Iberian False Smooth Snake
Iberian False Smooth Snake - portrait

When clouds, heavy wind and rain had spoiled our beach day, my chance had come to look for amphibians. At this point I have to thank Samira once again, who patiently waited in the car and watched over our sleeping baby, while I rushed through wetlands in pouring rain.


I found several Western Spadefoots, a Natterjack Toad and a huge Iberian Ribbed Newt.

Pelobates cultripes - Western Spadefoot
Pelobates cultripes - Western Spadefoot
Epidalea calamita - Natterjack Toad
Epidalea calamita - Natterjack Toad
Pleurodeles waltl - Iberian Ribbed Newt
Pleurodeles waltl - Iberian Ribbed Newt
Pleurodeles waltl - Iberian Ribbed Newt
Iberian Ribbed Newt, in situ
Pelobates cultripes - Western Spadefoot
Pelobates cultripes - Western Spadefoot

When it was sunny and a bit warmer we took the opportunity to look for Lizards. Of course we made a small detour on the way north to stop at the Antlantic coast.

We observed a badass white stork on a rock in the rough sea and enjoyed the impressive landscape.


My main goal was to find Iberian Emerald Lizards. Unfortunately it was still relatively cool and windy. The area we were searching was promising and I was almost sure that the Iberian Emerald Lizards should be found here. After a while I spotted the first specimens in the bushes near the water. These pretty lizards were quite hidden and shy, but with a little patience I was able to get close to them.


Portugal beach

Ciconia ciconia - White Stork
Ciconia ciconia - White Stork
Habitat - Lacerta schreiberi

Lacerta schreiberi - Iberian Emerald Lizard, female
Lacerta schreiberi - Iberian Emerald Lizard, female
Search the herp
Can you spot it?
Lacerta schreiberi - Iberian Emerald Lizard, male
Lacerta schreiberi - Iberian Emerald Lizard, male
My two Ladies
My two Ladies