Saturday, May 14th we (Hannes Hill, Rudi Klepsch and I) started from Salzburg to the Provence.
Goal was to visit some Vipera ursinii locations in the Alpes Maritimes and in Vaucluse.
First intended stop was a location in the Alpes Maritimes. When arriving there late afternoon, it was rainy and windy.
In the next morning there was a complete blue sky, but freezing temperatures.
We started in the field around 9:30, but could observe only a few Lacerta bilineata and some Podarcis muralis.
Our landlady told us, "Orsinis" are everywhere around and visit her garden regulary.
From time to time they even come close to the house and rest in the flowers nearby.
So we drove down to be more successful than on the mountain.
But the same - only Lacerta bilineata and Podarcis muralis.
Hannes found one Chalcides striatus below a flat rock.
The next morning blue sky again and temperatures a bit above freezing.
But only Lacerta bilineata, Podarcis muralis and one Anguis fragilis have been seen.
In the late morning, fog and clouds came up from the valleys and the coast, temperatures dropped rapidly.
No herps out anymore - time to make pictures of flowers.
In the wet meadows "millions" of Narcissus poeticus were blooming.
On the hillsides Paeonia officinalis were blooming
In the afternoon we left the Alpes Maritimes direction west.
Near the city Castellane we observed Podarcis muralis on the walls of an old bridge.
In a creek nearby we only saw Pelophylax sp.
In the forest nearby Dactylorhiza majalis was growing
On our way to Sault du Vaucluse (center of the Lavender agriculture), our next location, we passed by dozens of Lavendula fields
In the following morning we wanted to visit Vipera ursinii habitats on the Montagne de Lure.
Close to the top, an old piece of iron hit the car ventilator and the radiator.
We lost all the cooling water within seconds.
While waiting for the beakdown service, we walked around a bit.
Podarcis muralis and Lacerta bilineata have been seen again - and some Dactylorhiza sambucina in purple and yellow morphs.
Now we were fixed to Oraison to wait until our car would be ready again. This lasts until friday morning (4 days).
We climbed a hill everyday without much success. Only lizards and a missed young Hierophis viridiflavus. Along the Asses and Durance river also nothing except lizards and a subadult slow worm.
One evening they prepaired a magnifique Paella in our hotel.
Friday 8:30 a.m. we picked our car, drove to Sault to pick up our main luggage and drove on to Mont Ventoux to meet Jean Pierre Baron there.
Arriving there it was cool and cloudy.
Hannes found the only Vipera ursinii female approx. 12:30
Short after it began to rain and hail.
We left, because I should have been in the Berner Oberland, Switzerland friday late evening.
In Switzerland we have been much more successful - http://www.fieldherping.eu/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=753