© All CONTENT & PHOTOGRAPHS G.J. VERSPUI 2013 ©
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This summer we planned to visit more then one place again, in the middle of it we actually booked a campsite in the Ardeche, here we met with family.
The first stop we did was close to Bouillon, here we walked trough some heathlands and found Adders, Viviparous Lizards, Green Frogs, Grass Frog and 2 Slow Worms, we stayed 2 days in this area, the second day my mom and dad arrived too, so my dad and I searched for Adders again.
The next 2 days I wanted to visit some places in the Lorraine where there is a Asp Viper garantee.. My dad, who was impressed by seeing his first alive Adder decided to stay around to see the Asp Vipers also.
The first place we stayed was next to the river Meuse, lots of Edible Frogs were around, a very big Grass Snake escaped, on the shore was a small boat wich was filled with water, so it was a small pond now with 4 Edible Frogs inside it.
The next day we visited 2 places, at both sites we found Asp Vipers, other species were Smooth Snake and a juvenile Grass Snake.
In the morning we said goodbye to my parents and headed for the Alps, we stayed a day at Lac du Bourget, close to Aix les Bains, here we did some reall people things like swimming....but on the rocks were also very beautiful Common Wall Lizards, so it was a great place.
The next day we slept close to Valloire, it was pretty cold here at night, in the evening I found some Grass Frog tadpoles and in the morning after buying some fresh bread the sun came, I looked around and found a very good looking Asp Viper and many Common Wall Lizards.
Later that day we went to Briancon and close to that we knew a small valley where you can camp, in this valley I found Asp Vipers before, so I looked around again and found a very dark one which was very close to shedding.
My parents were also somewhere in the Alps and received a message from my brother and his girl that they had a ticket to Torino......"Dad, please pick us up and then we can go with you"
So when I was looking for Asp Vipers I saw my dads Campervan driving towards our place, so the next 2 days we stayed together again.
My brother is a bit like me, we like to do things that can make you a bit tired...so we climbed up a mountain in that valley and saw many chamoises (Rupicapra rupicapra), an other thing we found was a grenade which did not explode yet, we left it there...
The next day we saw an Asp Viper again, it was a concolor one, unfortunatly it was just being run over by a car so we had to kill it after some photos.
We said goodbye to my parents, brother and his girl again and headed for the Ardeche where we booked 8 days on a campsite, this is not something we normally do, but my cousin was also coming to that campsite, he also has 2 kids of the same age as mine, his sister and her husband and 2 sons and the parents of my cousin and nice were also on that campsite..so it was one big Verspui party and when I texted this to my parents, they also came...
The campsite was close to a river, here were millions of Green Frogs, Viperine Snakes, Common Wall Lizards, Western Green Lizards and close to the campsite I found Aesculapian Snake and a large Western Whip Snake escaped.
After 8 great days with a lot of family we said goodby for the last time, I wanted to look for Meadow Vipers, so we went in the direction of them, here the weather was different, a very cold wind, night temperatures of around 2' Celcius, but the sun came a couple of times, I looked around on 2 days and on both days I found a Meadow Viper, other species seen there were Common Wall Lizards and Western Green Lizards.
The weather stayed cold at the Meadow Viper area, so we went more south to the area around Pont du Gard, Collias was a small village next to the Gardon river, here we stayed 2 days, the river was full of Green Frogs and Viperine Snakes, my doughter was catching tadpoles and she found a strange one, it was a Common midwife Toad tadpole!
I looked with her and soon we found more of them, in the evening the Common midwife Toads were calling from around our campervan, I found 4 of them.
The next morning I found a juvenile Common Toad, juvenile Grass Snake, Viperine Snakes, Western Green Lizard and a large Western Montpellier Snake escaped into a stone wall.
It was almost time to go home again, at the first stop we found many Viperine Snakes, Common Wall Lizards, Western Green Lizard and a caterpillar of Giant Peacock Moth, (Saturnia pyri),we drove in northern direction and visited some touristic things, Gorges de l'Ardeche and Gerbier de Jonc.
25 km west of Valence we found a nice place next to the lignon river, I looked around with my daughter close to the water, we found many Edible Frogs and a metre long Grass Snake, a little later I checked out some old broken stone walls and found a Smooth Snake and a very unexpected Adder.
From here we drove home, spend the last night in the Belgian Ardennes, it was an other great summer, lots of km's were driven, but also lots of different regions were visited.
1. Common Midwife Toad - Alytes obstetricans
2. Common Toad - Bufo bufo
3. Grass Frog - Rana temporaria
4. Edible Frog - Pelophylax kl. esculentus
5. Western Green Lizard - Lacerta bilineata
6. Viviparous Lizard - Zootoca vivipara
7. Common Wall Lizard - Podarcis muralis
8. Slow Worm - Anguis fragilis
9. Western Whip Snake - Hierophis viridiflavus
10. Aesculapian Snake - Zamenis longissimus
11. Smooth Snake - Coronella austriaca
12. Grass Snake - Natrix natrix
13. Viperine Snake - Natrix maura
14. Western Montpellier Snake - Malpolon monspessulanus
15. Adder - Vipera berus
16. Asp Viper - Vipera aspis
17. Meadow Viper - Vipera ursinii