North West Iberia, summer 2006

The Route
The Route

Summer holidays 2006, France, Spain & Portugal.




Unless stated otherwise.





For viewing the photos in a bigger size, just click on them



(The original photographs are slides, which I made digital)



French Pyrenees


This year we wanted to visit the North West of the Iberian peninsula.

Our first stop was planned in the Pyrenees, south of St. Jean Pied de Port. We left early in the morning and drove the whole day and arrived around 20.30 at a place where I already came with my parents when I was a kid.


Being hungry off course, we dived into the small restaurant there and had a good diner with some local red wine, after driving the whole day I had some problems with walking back to our car in a straight line.


The next day we walked around a bit in the area and found Grass Frogs, Common Toad, Palmate Newts, Pyrenean Brook Newts and Common Wall Lizards.


A bit later that morning we went to a place and looked for Seoane's Viper, 3 were found, but only 2 were photographed.

At an other place we looked for Fire Salamanders and found at least 10 animals.


We stayed 3 nights in the Pyrenees, I love this place!





Spain & Portugal


From the Pyrenees we went into Spain, from one montane area to the other, the temperatures were very high or it was raining very hard, we only found amphibians and reptiles when we were higher in the mountains, places we visited were: Saja-Besaya Natural Park & Picos de Europa in Spain and Montesinho Natural Park and Peneda-Gerês National Park in Portugal.


Somewhere in Spain we had a short stop to have a drink and eat someting, when I walked allong a dry water channel I saw a little viper in the grass, it was a Seoane's Viper, but not the same one as in the Pyrenees, this was the 'cantabrica' subspecies and I was having a smile on my face!


When we went into Portugal we took a dirt road over a mountain pass, a very dusty, but beautiful road, here I saw a Occelated Lizard crossing the road and hiding under a stone, so it was easily photographed.


In Portugal we found some amphibians, at a pond were Marbled Newt larvae and a Bosca's Newt, in Peneda-Gerês National Park we found some huge Common Toads and also some reptiles:

Bocage’s Wall Lizard, Schreiber's Green Lizard and a melanistic Seoane's Viper.


When we came back in Spain, we looked for a campsite near the ocean and found one close to Vigo, here I really tried to be a beachboy, but it is very hard for me to lay on the beach without moving.....I was lucky and still observed some nice species there, who had special clothes for the beach lifestyle..


We also visited Santiago de Compostela, nice city!


Picos de Europa was next, I only saw 1 DOR Seoane's Viper, but I was lucky and met Cees Vermeer just when he found a beautifull viper, it was a 'uniform' one with only a thin stripe on its back.



Pyrenees again



The temperature stayed very high so we went back into the pyrenees to cool down a bit, here I saw a lot of Seoane's Vipers again and one of them was a very light colored one, I really wanted to kiss that one, but Cynthia got so jealous that I didn't do that.


After 2 days we left the Pyrenees again and headed for Rob Veen's campsite in Tigouleix, department Creuse.




Tigouleix, Creuse, Limousin



When we almost arrived at Rob & Claire's campsite I found a dead Asp Viper on the road close to Crocq and Rob said: no there are no asps there, so the next day we went back and first we could not find the spot again, but a bit later we found it and saw some Asp Vipers who were still alive, some Grass Snakes and Sand Lizards were also seen.


On the campsite we met more herp-lovers, it was a great place, when we looked for Asp Vipers somewhere we saw some other guys driving towards us, it was Cees Vermeer again and Harold van der Ploeg, it was nice meeting you there Harold and Cees!


On an other day we searched for Adders and found 4 of them and a dark Smooth Snake, so an other nice day.


Other species seen in that region were Common Toads, Green Frog speciesYellow-bellied Toads, Common Tree Frogs and some Viperine Snakes.




A good summer with a lot of rain and a lot of heat, but many great species and we met some nice people, so it was great!


Observed species




1.   Fire Salamander - Salamandra salamandra fastuosa

2.   Pyrenean Brook Newt - Calotriton asper

3.   Palmate Newt - Lissotriton helveticus

4.   Iberian Newt - Lissotriton boscai

5.   Marbled Newt - Triturus marmoratus

6.   Yellow-bellied Toad - Bombina variegata

7.   Common Toad - Bufo bufo

8.   Common Tree Frog - Hyla arborea

9.   Common Frog - Rana temporaria

10. Iberian Water Frog - Pelophylax perezi

11. Ocellated Lizard - Timon lepidus

12. Western Green Lizard - Lacerta bilineata

13. Schreiber’s Green Lizard - Lacerta schreiberi

14. Sand Lizard - Lacerta agilis

15. Viviparous Lizard - Zootoca vivipara

16. Common Wall Lizard - Podarcis muralis

17. Bocage’s Wall Lizard - Podarcis bocagei

18. Smooth Snake - Coronella austriaca

19. Grass Snake - Natrix natrix

20. Viperine Snake - Natrix maura

21. Adder - Vipera berus

22. Seoane’s Viper - Vipera seoanei ssp. seoanei & cantabrica

23. Asp Viper - Vipera aspis aspis