SPAIN 2011

Spanish Photo-Herp Trip


Valdemorillo, Madrid Province


Hostal Almais,Valdemorillo
our base for four nights
Church of Our Lady of Assumption,Valdemorillo
in front of Hostel Almais, with storks nesting on the roof

click on the images to enlarge

We spent little time in Valdemorillo itself, returning exhausted and ready to eat and sleep in the evening and shopping for supplies before leaving for the field in the morning, but we did encounter one reptile in the town, a Moorish gecko (Tarentola mauritanica) which scuttled down a wall besides me as we walked to the resturant and was promptly captured and bagged for later photography.

Shopping for supplies I hate shopping

Our search location near Valdemorillo was a meadow between a quiet road to a housing development and a shallow stream. At first glance it did not look very productive but first impressions can be wrong. Juan termed this location the "colubrid site" because in the past he had found it a good location for Ladder snakes (Rhinechis scalaris), Southern smooth snakes (Coronella girondica), and both Viperine watersnakes (Natrix maura) and Grass snakes (Natrix natrix astreptophora).

The meadow inclined slightly down to the stream and included a variety of habitats: rocky outcrops, small copses of trees, a wet boggy area where a smaller stream converged on the main stream, which was itself rocky in places and escorted by an avenue of trees. Stones of varying sizes were also scattered across the entire meadow, providing sanctuary for small amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates.

The "colubrid site" near Valdemorillo, looking upstream
The "colubrid site" near Valdemorillo, looking downstream

Amphibians found at the "colubrid site" were the Iberian water frog (Pelophylax perezi), Natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita) and Iberian midwife toad (Alytes cisternasii).

Reptiles encountered were the Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus), including males in red courtship colours that evaded capture, juvenile Eyed lizards (Timon lepidus lepidus), the Iberian worm-lizard (Blanus cinereus) and both adult and juvenile Viperine watersnakes (Natrix maura). Tom and Dave also returned from a walk on the other side of the stream with an adult Ladder snake (Rhinechis scalaris), a pleasant alternative to the road-killed specimen we had found earlier on the road out of Valdemorillo.

Venomous invertebrates found were numerous medium to large Giant centipedes (Scolopendra cingulata), under the almost every rock, but surprisingly only two buthid Iberian scorpions (Buthus ibericus).