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A Quick Thunderstorm Brought Out A Fire Salamander

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Although very common, particularly in the Algarve Hills, the Fire Salamander remains very hidden for most of its life but does venture into the open at night. After rainfall they can come out into the open even in the daytime, but I’ve never seen one in daylight.

I spotted this one heading under one of our terraces and into a Cat Bed, this is why it has cat hair stuck to it. I took a photo and then placed it in a much better location than the Cat bed!

This one was only around 10cm long, they can grow up to 25cm, I suspect it’s quite young.

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Young Fire Salamander
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Mediterranean Tree Frogs Right On Our Doorstep

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Most nights at this time of year, just after sunset, we can hear a loud croaking coming from a location nearby. So I decided to investigate what Frogs/Toads make these loud noises. After following the noise I stumbled across an old disused Cisterna (Water Storage Tank). The noise is amplified by the concrete circular wall which is why it can be heard from a distance. I could see the Frogs but not close enough to identify. I decided that I’d return the following night with the camera, but needed a light as I’m not a fan of using flash on wildlife in the dark.

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Mediterranean Tree Frog Calling (Male)

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The Search For An Iberian Midwife Toad

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Back at the end of November, “Herper” Kevin Byrnes from the UK contacted me after seeing my image of an Iberian Midwife Toad I found whilst walking Wally. The term Herper comes from the word Herpetology, the study of Reptiles and Amphibians.

Kevin and his wife Suzanne are on a quest to find and photograph all species of European Reptiles and Amphibians and wanted some advice on locating an Iberian Midwife Toad, suggesting he was planning a trip to the Algarve at the end of January.

Back then I informed him that it was an easy task as throughout the winter the area around São Marcos da Serra is full of the echos of beeps, the calling noise of the Iberian Midwife Toad.

However, over the last few weeks the Toads have been unseasonally quiet due to the dry autumn and winter. A few days ago, Kevin contacted me to say they had arrived in the Algarve and would be planning to meet up at the weekend.

Yesterday was the day and I met up with Kevin and Suzanne just before the end of Civil Dusk at 6pm, still a little early for the Toads to start calling. The day had been very warm and dry with temperatures reaching 24deg C and I was concerned we would be out of luck.

However, as the photo shows, we struck luckly (story continues below the photo).

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(Young) Iberian Midwife Toad/Sapo Partero Ibérico (Alytes cisternasii)
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