Here are some findings from two short trips to the Iberolacertas of Central Spain in 2022 & 2023: In June 2022 I (Peter) together with Sebastian Dörnemann did a short visit in the Peña de Francia area, mainly to see Iberolacerta martinezricai. In Early October 2023, Birgit & Peter did a five days trip to the Sierra de Béjar and Sierra de Gredos for the local Iberolacerta cyreni populations.
Besides of the enchanting lizards we - once again - fell in love with the mountains of the Sistema Central.
During our three days stay, the sky was cloudy and temperatures were comperatively low, in particular in the higher mountain altitudes. However, sooner or later the sun came out and so did the lizards: After 2010 and 2017, this was our third attempt to see adulti of Iberolacerta martinezricai and this time it worked.
On our way back to Madrid, we stayed for one night at Eastern Sierra de Gredos. However, due to clouds and a cold wind the hunting for Iberolacerta wasn't very rewarding. A good reason to come back!
During our stay in October 2023, Spain suffered from a late heat wave with >35 °C - too hot for lizards, at least in low altitudes. Wherefore we discarded our initial plan for an Extremadura tour and focused on the high altitude mountain habitats. The Sierra de Béjar was somehow a new discovery for us: This isolated mountain west of Sierra de Gredos is rarely visited by herpetologists - although it is inhabited by similar species as its famous neighboring mountain ranges. Due to the hot temperatures, we mainly visited the peak areas of these mountains, which are populated by Iberolacerta cyreni castiliana. Watching these agile lizards with their interesting social interactions was quite delightful.
The western part of Sierra de Gredos is as beautiful as the famous touristic parts near Plataforma de Gredos. However, there are no roads leading to the high altutidues and it requires very long hikes to get to the alpine habitats. Hiking between herds of Capra pyrenaica was an adventure, but we didn't see Iberolacerta here - the only abundant lizard we came across was Podarcis guadarramae. Exploring these mountains definitely takes more time - a welcome reason to come back one time...