It finally happened!

Azhael

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*Insert here an assortment of various expletives and blasphemous expressions*

I finally saw an I.a.cyreni and i didn´t have my camera with me!!!! Raaaaaaaaarggggghhhh

It´s been over a decade looking for I.alpestris in the wild, but today i finally managed to!!!! I can´t even begin to express how thrilled i am..there are no words xD
This species has been avoiding me for so long....and i´ve even been looking, year after year, in places where i knew for a fact that they could be found.
Mind you, as it couldn´t possibly have been any other way, i didn´t have my camera with me xD I should have known this would be the day. Also, the moment i found it, it started to rain heavily (no surprise there, either).
I actually wasn´t expecting it. I was marvelling at the sight of L.helveticus (one of my all time favourites) and the large amount of S.salamandra larvae, when suddenly i saw a retreating male I.a.cyreni trying to hide from me, but i screamed "NoooooOOOOooooOOOOooo you won´t!". It was a GORGEOUS male, larger than i expected for this subspecies, with a strikingly red belly. I couldn´t believe my eyes. Such a rush! xD

Anyway, sorry for the rambling but this is such a wonderful thing for me...i´ve been dreaming about this day since i was a lad.

To make things even better, i saw more L.helveticus this year than i did last year (same spot), and i was able to delight in the beauty of the countryside and the inmense amount of flowers. I even saw Aquilegia vulgaris, a wonderfully beautiful plant that i didn´t know grew in the area (i´m a bit of a botany nerd too).

As i said earlier, i didn´t have my camera with me, so i borrowed my father´s which sadly doesn´t have a macro and is unable to take any decent detail or quality images up close. As a result, the pictures i´ve taken are absolute ****...¬¬
Nevertheless, i´m so utterly excited about this day that i will share them as soon as i´m able to upload them to the computer. I apologize in advance, because they really are awful...
I´m sorry to post such a boring thread, with no pictures (yet), but i absolutely needed to share what a thrilling day i´ve had. I can now officially say that i have seen I.a.cyreni in the wild, and now that i know where they lurk, i´m looking forward to future encounters, that will hopefully result in decent quality pictures.
Again, please bare with me, i´m just so excited..xDDD
 

Neotenic_Jaymes

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Congrats!!! Thats kind of how I felt when I found my 1st Necturus maculosus. Searching for so long then eventually finding one. Then mastering the whole timing and techniques on when to find and where to look and time of the year and such. Next time have your camera at hand! There's still a couple species I haven't found yet but when I do I'll add them to this post.
 

Azhael

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It´s such a wonderful moment when you finally find that "holy grial" caudate of your dreams, isn´t it? xD

Turns out that some of the pictures weren´t all that crappy after all. I´m just not familiar with the camera and it seemed to me that they were substantially worse.

Here are a few of the more decent pictures:

1,2)Lissotriton helveticus, male.
3,4)S.s.fastuosa larvae.
5,6,7)I.a.cyreni, male.
 

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Azhael

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And a couple of pictures of some of the flowers. I know they aren´t herps, but they were beautiful nevertheless, and i thought some of you may apreciate them.

The first two are Aquilegia vulgaris, the others are unidentified.
 

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froggy

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Congrats on finding the alpines! I remember the first time I saw T. cristatus ... very exciting! Looks like a lovely spot, too - the flowers are stunning, as are the helveticus and salamandra. I really think palmates are overlooked. I read an article that Caleb gave me that details keeping them aquatic/semi-aquatic year-round, which makes them much eier than vulgaris.

Any pictures of the whole site?

C
 

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awesome pics! Congratulations on your first ever alpine newt :) Where I grew up, those and the helveticus were very common.

I also always thought that a helveticus male under full sails during breeding is one of the prettiest newts out there. They sometimes get overlooked because they are not as coloful as alpines and don't have the spectacular crests, but ya gotta love those subtle ochre and yellow colors and those black feet!

Love the flowers, too. We have Aquilegia spp in Alaska too - even a red species in SE Alaska which is pollinated by hummingbirds.

btw, I love the beautiful liverworts and mosses in the background on the alpine newt pic.
 
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Azhael

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I know there´s nothing fancy about spotting this species, but it has great meaning to me. I used to marvel at pictures of these newts when i was a toddler, and i´ve spent sooooo many years looking for them....
The spot is certainly beautiful (the whole valley is), i have officially made it my favourite spot xD No picture of the whole trough, Chris, sorry, i´ll take one next time i go there. It´s a typical cantabrian trough, a big one, divided in two. It´s the largest one i know in the whole area and it has a quite deep part which makes it safer and more stable for the local species than other troughs i know (which can loose most of their water in bad years).

Molch, the cover of mosses, liverworts and small ferns is simply stunning :p I´m fascinated by all cryptogams, and i find places like that to be dreamy. I can almost recall all the stories and mythology i was told as a child about fairies, goblins, witches and the lot, just by being in places like that. To me it´s paradise....all that green, and all that moisture, and the beauty of the shapes, plus the awareness of amphibians nearby xD I absolutely love Cantabria, i MUST live there when i grow up, hehe.

I fully agree with you both, L.helveticus is a brilliant species with a subtle beauty that never ceases to amaze me. They were the first newts i ever saw and they are very special to me. I´ve always found them fascinating and beautiful. Up close, their colors and pattern designs have nothing to envy other species.
Chris, i have heard about aquatic (or almost) housing of this species before, i´m hugely intrigued about that, if you could send me that article i´d apreciate it very much. They are not easy to find CB, but i hope to keep them at some point in the future.

PS: If you are ever able to take pictures of your local Aquilegia species, i´d love to see them, Molch!!
 

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Congrats how exciting :D

I love the way you apologise for your supposedly "boring" thread, you forget its on caudata and we are all just as interested and excited as you :happy:

Your pictures are great but can understand you angst my daughter broke mine months back and have been using it with only a small part of its potential plus a cracked screen so I was so happy to get a new one and have digital macro back.

Lovely looking newts and what an amazing experience, thanks for sharing!
 

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I´m fascinated by all cryptogams, and i find places like that to be dreamy. I can almost recall all the stories and mythology i was told as a child about fairies, goblins, witches and the lot, just by being in places like that. To me it´s paradise....all that green, and all that moisture, and the beauty of the shapes, plus the awareness of amphibians nearby
there it is - I believe you and I are similar creatures. I also have always loved moist, shady, mossy places and rain and clouds - don't much like sunshine; when it's hot and sunny I'm at home with the blinds drawn, but come the rain I'm out there in the woods sniffing the mosses and the wet earth.

Like I said, I probably was a salamander in a former life :)
 

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xDDD Indeed we are, then! There´s just something about all that, that makes me happy. I was definitely not made for the spanish sun...i can´t be having with the mediterranean climate, i´m much happier in the north (my beautiful, lush, celtic north that i so love!) where it´s green year round and there´s the promise of rain at any time :D
You would love it here, i know places where the entire floor is covered in a thick carpet of moss and the air smells of compost and humidity, and beech forests so thick you don´t know where the sun is.

Zoe, i´m happy to see i didn´t bore the hell out of you all xD It´s just that i tend to ramble....a lot :p
I took a lot of very low quality pictures, believe me xD And i´m annoyed that i couldn´t take any close-ups...that alpestris male was so beautiful....
I hope to be fully prepared next time!
 

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You would love it here, i know places where the entire floor is covered in a thick carpet of moss and the air smells of compost and humidity, and beech forests so thick you don´t know where the sun is.

!
sigh...yes. I must visit N Spain some day. Where I roamed as a kid in the Teutoburger forest in northern Germany there were places like that. There was a steep ravine I loved, with fire salamanders and a cave where bats nested and cliff faces overgrown with this fern (Asplenium scolopendrium), which is a very tropical-looking fern and which is not very common in N Germany and was my favorite fern ever.
 

Azhael

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Ah, i know which fern that is, and it is beautiful!!! It can also be found in northern spain, another sign of just how similar the flora and fauna of this area is to mainland europe. I´m sure there are some absolutely gorgeous places in Germany.....the mere thought makes me dizzy xD
 

zoezakella

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Zoe, i´m happy to see i didn´t bore the hell out of you all xD It´s just that i tend to ramble....a lot :p
I took a lot of very low quality pictures, believe me xD And i´m annoyed that i couldn´t take any close-ups...that alpestris male was so beautiful....
I hope to be fully prepared next time!
Most certainly not!!! Caudata is the best amphibian facebook ever :happy: Its lovely seeing different species around the world and more importantly in their natural environment!

Always great when people share their pictures aswell and considering you did not know the camera I would say those piccies are pretty good!
 

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I love the Salamandra larvae photos. Well done finding these. I always wanted to go looking for Salamandra in Iberia.
 

Azhael

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Sorry to resuscitate this thread but i was just told that the location where i found my only I.a.cyreni so far, happens to be in an area where they previously had never been documented. It´s good news as the oriental populations of cyreni are in a substantially worse situation than the occidental ones, plus you know, it makes my miserable single find a bit more special xDD

John, the Salamandra larvae are so locally abundant that it´s actually difficult not to find any. Any pool, trough or pond that can be accessed is almost guaranteed to have some. I do love seeing them, though, they are lovely :) You know you are welcome to some iberian herping any time :D
 

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Careful - I'll actually come there!
 

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Indeed Truly abundant in Iberia some times of the year.
In September there are nearly none. In mid October we see one or two per 3m^2 of stream /step pool. Later in March they are gazillions I remember a place were every depression was filled with water from rain are there were so many many in there. Most end up dying there a couple of weeks when those slight depressions dry up. Still, the continuously fed streams hold a great number of those. Something like 20-30 per square meter. Aww cant talk any more of this x^D Triggers my herping mode. Btw, these personal observations were from a S.s.gallaica population at Coimbra. I agree this varies among altitude, stream flow and between subspecies... Chioglossa lusitanica larvae 'happily' live along with S.s.gallaica larvae being also a prey for the last one..
 

Azhael

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You really should! I´d love to take you and your camera skills to my favourite spots :) Plus i´m always alone when i go herping and it´d be nice to have someone to be nerdy with :p. The beautiful animals here deserve a report like you did of the Ozarks and Ouachita!
 

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I don´t know, it was a bit misty and my glasses were a bit dirty. Then again, i have pictures, so....xD
 
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