Friday, 19 December 2014

Nature of Corsica 9: Mammals

Free range domestic pig
Unfortunately, the only mammals we actually saw on Corsica were domesticated pigs and goats. One wild mammal however features very prominently in Corsican ecology, culture, and cuisine – the wild boar Sus scrofa. Hunting is a major pastime on Corsica, and when we were there it was a peak of the hunting season. More or less every day we would see trucks go by with hunting parties, and often heard shots from the hunters. I have to say that wild boar stews are extremely tasty. For those who have not eaten it, wild boar is a very dark, lean meat more like venison than pork.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Nature of Corsica 8: Reptiles

P.tiliguerta male
There are of course many species of reptiles on Corsica, but as this was a mainly bird and botany focussed holiday we did not go seeking them out especially. Despite this, we found at least three species of lizard, including the endemic Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard Podarcis tiliguerta. This was the most widely seen of all the lizards we found, occurring from sea level up to altitude, and they were obvious whenever the sun was out and they could bask.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Nature of Corsica 7: Corsican Fire Salamander
Widespread across Europe, North Africa and Parts of Turkey and the Middle East can be found a variety of species of large, warningly coloured salamanders. They vary from all-black in the Alpine Salamander S.atra to almost all-yellow in some forms of S.terrestris. In warmer climates they are mostly found at altitude, but in northern Europe they are found close to sea level. Their typical habitat is woodland, either deciduous or pine, but most forms require permanent or near-permanent water for their larvae, usually in the form of shallow streams.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Nature of Corsica 6: Butterflies

Common Blue, P.icarus
Butterflies were common across the island, and in the course of the week we saw at least 19 species, of which two are endemic to the island. Of the rest, many have a range centred on the Mediterranean, while a few are resident year round in the UK or are summer migrants to Britain.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Nature of Corsica 5: Assorted Insects

Dragonfly - possibly Sympetrum striolatum
Insect life we found in Corsica after the hot dry summer was at a lower ebb than I might have expected, but there was still much to be found when we went looking. I will do a separate post on the various butterflies, but in this post I will cover some of the more interesting insects we found.