By Annette J Beveridge
My brother and I spent a great deal of time searching for the elusive ocellated lizard while living in Spain. He had practically stumbled across an impressive male in the rough scrubland nearby and had rushed over to my house excited about his latest discovery. Both keen conservationists, I was eager to find one too and knowing these beautiful lizards were ‘almost’ on the doorstep was tantalising.
Near to the house, an area of desert-like scrub stretched for miles all the way to a small beach town on the far distant horizon. The terrain was hot, arid and in places, difficult to navigate. Having done a little research, I knew that the habitat – made up of dry, bushy shrubs, sparsely dotted trees, scrubby woodland in places and rocky, sandy areas, were perfect for this lizard.
We started searching in earnest trying to glimpse any movement. I searched for abandoned rabbit burrows too knowing that these lizards would make use of them. The heat sapped our energy. There was little shade and the sun was torturous at times. Spending hours in 40+ degree heat is really not easy. At times, I had to give in.