This was not a pure herping trip – I had my wife and son with me, so I could not use all my time for herping. But then again, I think I got to use enough time, as it started to get very hot.
We stayed in Paphos, which is situated on the south-western coast of Cyprus.
We arrived late at night on friday 06.june, so there was no time for herping the first day. The very next morning I rented a bike at the hotel, and took out in the direction that looked most promesing – afted cycled about 2 km I hear some water trinkeling in the trees by the road, so I found the nearest way to get in there. What I found was a place with many green houses which was no longer in use (or in any state to be used) and an orchard with apple, citrus and orange trees (which was why there still was water there) I walked around for some hours this first day, and saw many, many Phoenicolacerta troodica and also 2 Ablepharus budaki under some garbage. And some Laudakia (Stellagama) stellio ran madly through the bushed before I could see them.
I also went back early the following morning, and after I’d been there an hour, the farmer arrived. A nice gentleman who was very interested in what I was doing – he told me that there usually was lot of snakes on his orchard, but that it was to hot now. He also told me about the big, dangerous snake with the triangular head that lived on Cyprus – but he had never seen this snake in his orchard. When I walked around this area this morning I stumbled upon a Hyla savignyi sleeping in the top side of a big leaf. Pure luck
The next day Budget delivered my rental car – and the it dawned upon me, these guys drive on the wrong side of the road, and the steering wheel is also on the wrong side of the car 🙂
To my delight, the rental company was out of the small economy car I’d ordered, and they gave me a Toyota RAV4 with at automatic gear – this made the madness much easier!
With the car in place – I took an afternook trip around the area and found some more Laudakia stellio, and loads of Phoenicolacerta. The next morning I drove up to a dam, hoping to find some creeks with water and there M.lebetina and other snakes. But no luck – there was not a drop of water to find out of the reservoir, and the water level in this one also was very low. Later this day I headed back to the orchard and saw a Dolpicophis jugularis, but it was to quick. I also heard some tree frogs singing, but was not able to locate them (the sun was still up). But did see some lizards that probably was Acanthodactylus schreiberi. I did not get any pictures, but there is not much else it could be on Cyprus.
The following day I was time to take up a tip I got from some guys who were on Cyprus a couple of weeks before me. They had found a M.lebetina up in the Troodos Mountains – So I headed the car in that direction and with some difficulty I found the spot given. A nice small dammed up lake. But after walking around some hours, still no luck on the vipers. Only more agamas and Troodos Lizards. When I was sitting trying to photograph an agama, just behind be two Troodos Lizards started a mating behaviour with waving and tail biting.
After nightfall this day, I got back to the orchard hoping to find chameleons sleeping in the trees and tree frogs (not sleeping) – there was no chamelons – but hundreds of Hylas
The very next day I had arranged to meet up with Guillerme, which is a spaniard just moved to Cyprus to work in the Paphos Zoo. When I met up with him he had with him a «surprice» for me. Two Macrovipera lebetina that had been found inside the Zoo – and he was going to relocate them somewhere safe. So off course I joined this, to get guaranteed to photograph the species. We drove to a more remote spot and photographed and released them
Now my shouldes was a bit lovered, I had seen the fantastic Blunt-nosed Viper, and I had shots of it. After we had released them we decided that I should show him the orchard, as he had not seen the Hylas on Cyprus yet.
We walked around a bit, and found both Hemidactylus turcicus and Mediodactylus kotschyi fitzingeri under rocks and garbage. We only got photos of the Turkish ones
While looking for more Kotschy’s gecko to photograph, Guillerme lifted up an plastic tractor (the ones with pedals for kids) which was half way under a bush… there it was, a large Blunt-nosed Viper
From now on the shouldes was really low – I even got the time to get a sunburn on my chest and shouldes by the pool 🙂
The last day I went out again to try to get some decent shots of the agama and some shots at all of the Kotchy’s Gecko – the gecko went ok. But the agamas are a pain in the ass.. do they have a 6.th sence like Spider Man ?
All in all a fantaxtic trip, even though the amount of species found and photographed is not big..
Species list :
Mediodactylus kotschyi fintzingeri
Macrovipera lebetina lebetina