Our friend Daniel from Guatemala also lives in Munich now. Of course we had to meet, to search for his first Fire Salamanders! After a rainy morning we found a total of 34 Fire Salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) on the move and several White-throated Dippers (Cinclus cinclus).
With a group of friends I visited a region in Belgium I know very well. Every year I spend a week in the area around the city of Liege with my students for a survival week, now I had a bit more luxury and together with Jasper, Dieuwertje, Bram, Sander, Jorg and Nick we rented two little bungalows. During the day we searched the forests for insects and amphibians. During the night as well, but also enjoyed a bonfire along the river Ourthe. At night we found over 60 Fire Salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) and several Midwife Toads (Alytes obstetricans). It was good to see these animals doing well in an area where Bsal is known to wreak havoc. On Sunday we visited the Insect Fair in Seraing which was the main reason for our visit and with some nice new additions for our insect collections we returned home.
A late season visit to a beautiful moor west of the Isar yielded quite some reptiles, thanks to the warmth of the sun. Several Sand Lizards (Lacerta agilis), a Viviparous Lizard (Zootoca vivipara) and three Adders (Vipera berus) were found.
While doing some maintenance on the ponds and puddles in our salamander woods, Laura and I found 29 Fire Salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) actively crawling around during the day, which is not unusual in this population.
For our annual anniversary picture we drove to the Arzmoos, one of our favourite places in the Alps. As we are participating in a study on Bsal in the Alps we brought the equipment with us to swab a large number of Alpine Salamanders (Salamandra atra). It was quite a sunny day so we even had a very chilly dip at the waterfall and a much warmer swim in the hidden bog. The warm weather also brought out Silvery Monkey Beetles (Hoplia argentea) in numbers I never saw before. A circling Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) completed another great day in the mountains.
In a very beautiful moor east of the Isar, Niklas, Laura and I went on to search for snakes. The sun was out and all reptiles were basking, although very cryptically. We found a big Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) basking on top of the vegetation and a few hidden Adders (Vipera berus). One melanistic female Adder was very alert but was feeling secure enough to allow some nice in-situ pictures.
A month later than last year but we found the first Adder of the new year!