Finally, we have been able to participate in the environmental volunteer program of “Amphibian Monitoring of the Sierra Norte de Sevilla” organized by AMBOR and led by Wouter de Vries for 10 years. Congratulations to the organizers!
It is very difficult to get that record and this deserves to be highlighted. In addition, all these years of effort are producing very good results and a “nursery” of naturalists. We can only congratulate you on the passage in Sierra Norte of the following generations to train themselves and contribute to the project.
I was invited as “expert” to the project, but in the sampling team there were plenty of very prepared people … Saturday developed in the best possible way … without logistical problems, with many sightings (some quite interesting reptiles), observations of 10 out of 12 species of amphibians present in the area, and much water dips to search for larvae and tadpoles. My thanks to my four companions who came from Valladolid. We were also accompanied by two very enthusiastic young Dutchmen who kept running around, picking up stones, taking pictures … and laughing at the jokes.
The next day, I also enjoyed explaining to the novices my trick to distinguish the spiraculum in the anura, and when necessary (very rarely), the criteria to distinguish the different species. We observe quite a few spadefoot toad tadpoles of medium-size: a small challenge to ensure correct identification which allows to review the entire morphology and also the ecology of amphibians. But we get it out! An extra key is phenology since the tree-frogs (whose larvae resemble them) are slightly later in season and have also smaller tadpoles.
In total about 45 people participated and more than 100 bodies of water were sampled. The final pooling allowed to contrast the results of the 8 groups. It is very curious how the situation of amphibians can change between locations that are not far away. For me, the observation of the Iberian newts was especially gratifying since I had not observed them in the province of Córdoba where they are very scarce and probably absent close to the city.