© All CONTENT & PHOTOGRAPHS G.J. VERSPUI 2014 ©
Unless stated otherwise.
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All Lizard photo's are made 'In Situ', unless mentioned otherwise
Once upon a time in the Netherlands there was a family that looked pretty normal on the outside, but there are some minor strange things here... at first the children like to chase lizards and snakes all day, so the dad adapted a bit and now likes to do that too!
An other thing is that there is nobody in this family who really likes the blabla bullshit way of spending Christmas.
So a combination was made, let's go to a place with lizards and snakes around christmas time!! Majorca maybe..
Dad told some of his friends about this plan and found out that Laura & Bobby (who recently put a big f*cking ring around Laura's finger) were also looking at Majorca as a possible place to spend their holidays. Now why is Mallorca so popular, lets ask my kids..
Siem & Elin told me that Majorca has a special endemic midwife toad species and none of the above had ever seen an adult in the wild, they also told me that the Lilford's Wall Lizards on the islands around Majorca were a unseen species for them, so also for me....and close to Majorca is Menorca and here were 2 more species they did not see before in their herping careers: Moroccan Rock Lizard & Algerian False Smooth Snake.
An other guy who found out about this trip was Paul, an old English Bull, who still looks very young from a distance...he also bought himself a ticket for only 3 days on the island, because his job of making erotic guy on guy wrestle movies did not allow him to go longer...must feel very special when your boss loves you and your moves so much!!
The last one who joined this trip was Sjoerd or Sjeord, (nobody really knows what his actual name is), what we all do know is that after eating and drinking way too much on Malta he got a little fat and he wanted to use running up and down the Tramuntana mountains of Majorca to lose some weight.
Oh and I almost forgot, there was one guy who stayed at home and stalked us with lots of messages, it was Sjuul, he was not only interested in our findings on Majorca, but he also needed some motivation because he just started his getting fit program which only means, run till you drop, push up till....dont know, just go on...and doing burpees till puke comes out of your mouth.(I think he already quit my program..)
Almost all these people are going to Majorca, but we almost all go on different dates, Me and my family and Sjoerd went before christmas and stayed 1 week, Laura & Bobby arrived on the 27th and also stayed 1 week and Paul arrived with Laura and Bobby and left on the same day as us.
Tuesday, the 23rd of December
Very early out of bed because our flight was already at 07:10, on the airport of Eindhoven we met with Sjoerd, who was already sleeping on a bench.
The flight was only 2 hours, so around 10:30 we were already buying some groceries at a supermarket and 45 minutes later we arrived at our first house of this trip, it was in the mountains close to Andratx and we had a great view over a little village called S' Arraco, we could even see a little part of the island Sa Dragonera, a well known location for Lilford's Wall Lizards, so we tried to go there in the afternoon, unfortunately there were no boats going there in december...
Sjoerd's hotel was on the other side of Majorca, in Alcudia.
The weather was perfect, around 17'Celcius, no wind and no clouds, so we had a look in Magaluf, also there nothing to find to go to the island close to the beach. So we looked around on the peninsula south of Magaluf, many nice little beaches and then we saw a ruïn, we searched there a bit and found some Moorish Gecko's and then Siem yelled: "papa, ik zie een slang" which means: "Daddy, I see a snake"
I jumped towards him and found a juvenile Horseshoe Whip Snake, after I picked it up I saw that it was dead, but it was not dead very long.
So the first snake on the island was found, my son felt very proud and I had to hear the whole week that he found a snake and I did not, but this doesn't only count for me.....it was the only (dead) snake found on Majorca for the whole team. (and yes, fresh dead snakes count for a 4 year old snake hunter)
In the late afternoon we visited a place for Majorcan Midwife Toad, Siem was sleeping in the car, so Cynthia stayed with him and I went with Elin to the 2 reintroduction sites, at the first site we noticed fish inside the breeding water and at the second site we saw nothing.
Back at our house we had dinner and after that I checked the toad-place out again, but again nothing.
Wednesday, the 24th of December
We slept untill 09:00, which is crazy long for us, because our kids are always awake around 06:00, after breakfast we drove to Colonia de Sant Jordi, at first we went to the beach north of that place and here I swam to an island close to the shore, no lizards here....
So next I tried to get a boat to take us to one of the islands, that was not easy, nobody had a clue how to get a boat, even the people who were on a boat....so I tried to buy me an inflatable boat or other device, but nothing.
Sjoerd also arrived and while the kids played on the beach we walked around the harbour one more time, I walked towards 2 guys who just came into the harbour with their boat and aked if they could drop us off on 1 of the islands, they said no problem!!
Pau and his friend brought us to sa Guardis and asked how long we wanted to be there, 1 hour we said and he promised to pick us up again.
In this hour we saw many many Lilford's Wall Lizards and some Moorish Gecko's.
After an hour we were already checking if we could see Pau and his boat coming out of the harbour again, but that took a while and we already made plans about swimming and which equipment would go in the waterproof bags.
Pau was probably a friend of Bobby because he was 15 minutes later then promised, but that did not matter, we were very happy that he came back and that we had the chance to photograph the very pretty black lizards!
Back in the harbour we checked out the area and found a big black/purple male Lilford's Wall Lizard under a big stone.
When we drove home we went into the center of Palma to look at all the christmas lights, it looks good.
Thursday, the 25th of December, I think it is Christmas..
Good morning, Christmas on Majorca starts without clouds and the temperature was like it was springtime, In the morning we visited some places at the coast, first Port de Andratx and then we took the coastal route into the direction of Palma, close to Palma we visited a place with Ibiza Wall Lizards, we saw a lot of them and I was able to make a couple of nice photo's.
Around 13:00 we went back to our house and had something to eat, half an hour later Sjoerd also arrived and together we went for a hike in the mountains to look for Majorcan Midwife Toads, it was a steap hike and we went from 100 m absl to 750 m absl, the weather was great during the hike, but when we arrived the temperature was not more then 6'Celcius, we found some tadpoles, but no adults and we were in a hurry because Cynthia had prepared a christmas dinner for us, so some quick photo's of the tadpoles and then we ran down the mountain, just over half an hour later we were back at Sjoerd's very cool rental car and I drove us safely back to the house.
We arrived on time, it was around 19:00 and the kids were very happy to see Sjoerd again, Siem calls him his best friend now....I used to be that, haha.
Dinner including the beers and wine was great, thanks Cynthia for the effort of making an excellent dinner!! My tummy and my head actually felt like I enjoyed the deadly amount of food and drinks of a real christmas day!
Not so late we all went to bed, Sjoerd slept on our couch, better then drive 1 hour back to his hotel with all that beer and wine... When I woke up in the middle of the night I heard somebody eating out of the fridge, it was Sjoerd, he explained that he needed to feed himself with greasy shit otherwise he would really get unhappy, so I just let him eat...
Friday, the 26th of december
Menorca, here we come, the alarm clock started singing at 05:00 and around 20 minutes later we were in the car towards Alcudia where Sjoerd parked his car and jumped into ours, at 06:30 we were at the boat, which left at 08:00......(Sjoerd told me that it was a 90 minutes drive to his place...) better early then being too late!
When we left it was very dark with a lot of wind, on the boat we had the pleasure to see many people getting sick and filling up their puke bags, we didn't have any problems.
When we arrived at Menorca the sun came out, but the wind was still very strong, at the first site we found lots of juvenile Moroccan Rock Lizards and only few adults, other species there were Turkish Gecko, Moorish Gecko, some alien slider species and a Hermann's Tortoise.
While Sjoerd was buying some food at a supermarket me and Siem & Elin made some photos with his camera that he left in the car, very decent ones compared to the photos we took with Ronald's camera in the Peloponnese in 2012...
Next location we found some Stripeless Tree Frogs and at a beach area with sand dunes we found a little slope that was in the sun and out of the wind, it did not take long before Sjoerd found the first Ladder Snake, only minutes later I found the first Algerian False Smooth Snake, in the 10 minutes after that Sjoerd found a second Ladder Snake and I found a second Algerian False Smooth Snake, the first Algerian False Snake was put in a pocket of Sjoerd's backpack, but Sjoerd forgot to tell me that there was also an Italian Wall Lizard in there....so when I got the snake out for some photos the lizard was already half in the snakes mouth.....the lizard still managed to escape a little later.
While taking pictures I saw a strange object on the ground, it was a 12 volt USB connector for in the car and it looked familiar, so I asked Sjoerd, do you know something about this?? Sjoerd said it was his and said he deserved some punishment for losing this thing, after 25 push ups I gave it back to him.....take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you! hahaha.
Other species found there were Stripeless Tree Frogs, Moorish Gecko's, after some photography with these 4 or 5 models we were very happy and Sjoerd did his 100 push ups because I found his tick snake...
In the last hour we drove towards the boat again and after 2 and an half hour we were back on Majorca again, we dropped off Sjoerd and 50 minutes later we were back in our house in Andratx, this day was a perfect day, we found all our desired species and we all had a great time!
Saterday, the 27th of December
Today Laura, Bobby & Paul arrive on Majorca, I would meet them around 13:30 at a place to look for Majorcan Midwife Toads, but I was a little later and they were already at the location, I ran at double speed towards them and brought them some tequila flavoured beer as a welcome drink, while running I already managed to empty one of the pint-size cans.
It was good to see my friends again, Paul even bought me a christmas present, so I passed the beer his way and started unpacking my presents, with the presents came a note, Paul his misses wanted to see the result of Sjoerd and me wearing the Union Jack boxershort. So misses of Paul Lambourne, on the first on januari me and my brother always do a naked new years dive, so the picture is taken after the naked part.
The search for the toads did not deliver any high fives or tears of happiness, so we went to an other place that I already visited in the morning and we found some tadpoles there. I also lost my glove there and Sjoerd found it, guess what he said... :"Do 25 puh ups to get it back", thanks for my glove and making me stronger mate!
I drove very smooth, but fast with Sjoerd's car towards our second house close to Selva and when we arrived we all went in and within 10 seconds Sjoerd was already grabbing some beers from my fridge, after half an hour (2 drinks for most of us and 4 for Sjoerd) they went towards their hotel and me and my family had dinner.
Sunday, the 28th of December
The next day we did some family stuff, but the weather was not very good, so after some touring over the island and not being able to get out of the car and stay dry once we went back to our house and I challenged every member of my family with "connect 4", after 100 games I got tired of it.
Monday, the 29th of December
Around 10:30 I was supposed to meet with Sjoerd, Paul, Bobby & Laura at a place Mr B. and I talked about on friday, but they were not there, I assumed that they would be there, so it is partly my mistake because we all know assumption is the mother of all f*ckups....
So they started from one side of a mountain the climb up and I started from an other, after 1 hour and 40 minutes hiking/trailrunning in rain, hail and snow I finally reached the others and again we only found tadpoles of the endemic midwife toad of Majorca, at the location it was around 2' Celsius, so after a while we had to start moving again because it was getting a little cold.
On the way down Sjoerd and I were going a little too fast and somebody felt slow because of that, I will not tell who it was, but he told us a wise story (in english):
A young bull and an older bull were together in a farmers field, then they noticed that the farmer left the gate open to the other field, the young bull yelled at the older bull: "Let's run uphill and f*ck a cow!" The older bull looked at the young bull and said: "Why don't we walk up the hill and f*ck all the cows!"
Sjoerd and I looked at this man who felt a little bit like the older bull and said: Being a fit bull means you can run uphill and still be very kind to all of the cows!!! He agreed...and started some burpees...
A bit further down we found a cool tree which was perfect for a group picture with this part of the group.
At the carpark Cynthia, Siem & Elin were already waiting and we all drove to the coast to look for some Ibiza Wall Lizards, which was an other tick for Paul.
At the location Sjoerd showed his amphibious qualities again and swam to the island to find Paul a lizard, so Paul could do 100 push ups again for other people finding his ticks....
Meanwhile Elin and I walked to a place where we saw lots of Ibiza Wall Lizards 4 days ago and she found a pretty male straight away and brought it to Paul and he was happy with his tick and the knowledge that he would get stronger again that evening from that 100 push ups, made possible by a 7 year old girl.
I also found a Turkish Gecko there, I think it was the first one we saw on Majorca.
When it was last light we drove to Inca and had diner in a restaurant that was almost closing, only because Laura smiled at the owner and kindly requested him that he should call somebody who would make our food, when the food was almost gone we even got a bottle of champagne from the owner and we and we emptied it within 5 minutes.
From the restaurant we drove to our house and the others went to Alcudia where they had more drinks and made some drug addict local friends.
An other great trip with some familiar faces, or was it a family holiday... I think it was a great combination of the 2, we were there for 7 whole days and had plenty of time to do family related stuff (which is looking for lizards and other herps) and herping nerd stuff (looking for the same species).
Only one day at Menorca turned out to be great and we found more then we hoped for.
Yes we missed christmas at home, I really feel bad about that.....NOT, what is better then finding Alytes muletensis (tadpoles) on christmas day, then run down the mountain, drive smooth and fast (I was driving in Sjoerd's car) back to our house where we had a perfect christmas dinner made by Cynthia, thanks dear!
The last 3 days were with Laura, Bobby and Paul and those days were good too, except for the part that they brought some shitty weather with them...
The part when you should do 100 push ups if somebody else finds your tick should stay as a sort of new rule, it is fun and everybody searches much harder this way, maybe all the tick-list-horny people should also make a list of the species they actually found themselves!
Happy new year!
A big thanks to all members of this trip for the laughs and making me feel less fat then Sjoerd & Paul...also thanks to Jeroen Speybroeck and Bobby Bok for their information!
1. Majorcan Midwife Toad - Alytes muletensis (tadpoles)
2. Green Toad - Bufotes viridis balearicus
3. Stripeless Tree Frog - Hyla meridionalis
4. Iberian Water Frog - Pelophylax perezi
5. Moorish Gecko - Tarentola mauritanica
6. Turkish Gecko - Hemidactylus turcicus
7. Moroccan Rock Lizard - Scelarcis perspicillata
8. Lilford's Wall Lizard - Podarcis lilfordi jordansi
9. Ibiza Wall Lizard - Podarcis pityusensis
10. Italian Wall Lizard - Podarcis siculus
---. Horseshoe Whip Snake - Hemorrhois hippocrepis (dead)
11. Ladder Snake - Rhinechis scalaris
12. Algerian False Smooth Snake - Macroprotodon cucullatus