RFI For Some European Species

Still in the midst of planning our summer expedition to Europe and have some areas where perhaps some of ya’ll can help out with information,

Spanish Ibex – I have read Jon’s report about his sightings in the Sierra Nevada region near Grenada.  I will be trying there for sure but I am wondering if there are any reliable sites in the Pyrenees?  I will be exploring the region in and around Arrens Marous.  Any other reliable sites near there?  How about Somiedo?

Moufflon – Andujar is the place we plan on searching for this species while going for the Lynx.  Any other good locations?

Greece – I cannot find squat about wildlife in Greece.  We’re going to Athens and trying hard to get some sort of boat to take us out to Alonnisos to search for Monk Seals, but no luck at all yet.  Anyone have some ideas about some places to search for mammals near Athens or a day or two out?  We are thinking about heading to Crete for a couple days searching for Cretan Goats in the Samaria Gorge area…Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Abruzzo – we are staying in Abruzzo for 2.5 days to get the Chamois and give the bears a try….but I understand that we need reservations for Val de Rose trail, which I believe is the best place to see the Chamois….Does anyone know how to make reservations on line?  I would like to do this well before our arrival to make sure we can do it….

Thanks in advance everyone!


Coke, Som and Cokie




  • tai haku

    Not sure if the ibex spot you’re talking about is Torcal de Antequera, but we stopped there on the way to Andujar seems to be a decent spot – I dipped there but there was plenty of sign around of the beasties and it sounds like i was unlucky to go there on the worst day weatherwise in years. Here’s my trip report in case its of use – not yet submitted here:

  • PandaSmith

    Hi Tai Haku – thanks for the great information. I think I was thinking of Torcal de Angequera but you have nailed it down for me – what a spectacular looking geological spot in any event! Your link was a dead end but i did find your report with a simple search of the site – great report and what a spectacularly lucky trip! Excellent job! Cheers and thanks again!

  • Charles Foley

    Hi Coke,

    I’ve had more luck with Ibex in the Sierra Nevada’s than El Torcal, but others have seen them in El Torcal quite regularly. Take a scope if you have one. They’re quite common in most of the southern Andalucian sierra’s. The area around Los Escoriales farm is the best place for Mouflon in Andujar – I’ve never seen them on any of the other farms.


    • PandaSmith

      Thanks Charles! Noted and noted! I definitely have a scope and will make good use. I have seen some great images of the Mouflon in Andujar and I bet these were taken at Los Escoriales…Cheers, Coke

  • vdinets

    What are your dates? We’ll probably be in Abruzzo on June 8th, then continue south to Sicily. I haven’t looked at the reservations issue yet.
    Mount Olympus looked like a good place for dormice when I was there, but it was too early in season (early May 1993). I have a friend who knows Cyprus really well, will ask him about the mouse etc.
    BTW, IUCN website says that seal tourism is the main reason for monk seal’s decline in Eastern Medit., so you might consider doing this in Mauritania instead 🙂

    • PandaSmith

      We’re going to be in Abruzzo from the 3rd of July through the 6th, so it looks like we’ll just Not sure if I can make it to Cyprus or not, but Crete looks like our destination. If you find out something on the reservations, I am all ears. I’ve emailed the park a number of times but so far have not received any response… That’s really too bad about the tourism impact with the seal. I could surely see that happening though. Thanks for the response and information! Cheers, Coke

  • Nathan

    Hi, I have been working several months in Abruzzo national park on bears, wolves & chamois. Val di Rose does not seem to me as the best place to see chamois. I would rather go for Monte Amaro or even better Monte Meta. Monte Meta is certainly one of the best scenery in the whole park, and has the largest group of chamois. They are very easy to spot on the top (but also on the way up).

    For the bears, it depends a lot on the timing of your visit. If it is early summer, it is not easy at all. At this time of the year, they spend a large part of their time in the fresh gullies, within the forests. Perhaps, your best chance would be Gioia Vecchio, from the village’s church. This area is known from everyone, but yet, one of the best spots at this time of the year. In addition, there is always a chance to find a dead cow, which would attract both bears & wolves.

    Please, let me know if you need any additional information about Abruzzo.


    • PandaSmith

      Great information Nathan! Thanks so much. Now does Monte Amaro and Monte Meta require reservations? How long would one need to trek before there is a potential for a sighting? Bears I am thinking are a long shot but who knows, we may be lucky….Thanks again!

      • Luca Peruzzi

        Never missed chamois on the val di rose trail, spring & summer months…

      • Nathan

        Luca, I am not saying Val di Rose is bad. Is just that the other ones are better for me. Val di Rose & Monte Amaro have always been more controlled than Monte Meta. The last time I went, one did not need any reservation to go to Monte Meta. Monte Meta is certainly the best landscape in the park, but this may be subjective.The final argument to me is that Monte Meta would offer you a chance to spot a bear or even wolf, while the chances are more than slim on Val di Rose. Snowfinches are also easy to spot on the top of Monte Meta.

    • sjefo

      Andujar also has Ibex if you drive down to the La Lancha dam, scan the steep cliffs there with a scope (tunnel at the dam is good for bats), but they are not as reliable there it seems. Good places to see them (close) are El Torcal (saw them there in March) and Sierra de Gredos further north (requires hiking but very easy to see there as well). My experience is that Chamois is much easier than ibex in the Pyrenees. I don”t have my notebook here for the Abruzzo, but I remember that we saw chamois on almost every walk in higher rockier terrain in the mountains (no permits required on those walks).


    • markhowsMark Hows


      can you contact me, you may be able to help me with a few questions I have.




  • white1985

    We saw Southeastern Spanish Ibex at the Sierra Nevada (a whole group but quite far away) and a lovely family of four in the mountains around Ronda. The other subspecies, Gredos Spanish Ibex, are spectacularly common and easy in the mountains around Hoyos del Espino. We saw dozens of them along a very easy path, just a couple of hundred meters from the parking lot. At around 6pm they were even grazing on the slopes around the parking lot. Very nice to see them playing, grazing,…
    We only saw two mouflons in Sierra de Andujar on our final morning. They were on the tarred road between Los Pinos and Los Escoriales.
    More info and sightings are in our trip report on this website and on my blog.

  • white1985

    I got some more info on mammalwatching in Greece from my Greek colleague.
    Wild goats can be seen in Crete. While they are usually harder to spot they can be more easily seen along the Samaria trail where they are used to tourists. Wildcat can be seen at altitudes ranging from 1200-1600m but they are very hard to see and even hard to capture on trailcams. Smaller mammals that can be seen in the Psiloritis-Nida area include Acomys minus and Croccidura zimmermani. For info on small mammals (including bats) you could try contacting Panayiotis Georgiakakis pangeos@nhmc.uoc.gr.

    The best places for mammalwatching on the mainland are Pindos and Smolikas. Apparently it is easier to see mammals in Rodopi.

    • PandaSmith

      Great! Thanks again! I am definitely going to shoot for the Samaria trail for the habituated goats. I will also cruise by Psiloritis-Nida as well. If I cannot arrange anything for the Monk Seal, I will most likely head to Pindos and Smolikas for a couple days. Thanks again!

  • Romain

    I don’t know if you want to visit France, but if you go in the Pyrenées, it’s easy to see the Pyrenean chamois in the Ossau vallée at a place name “La cabane de Chérue” early in the morning.
    Spanish ibex is very easy to find in Sierra de Gredos in spain like lynx and mouflon in Andujar.
    Alpine ibex and chamois is very easy too near Samoëns in the Alpes, I can give you the name of a good friends who can help you.
    Beaver are quite easy too near my home in “la Touraine”.

    Have good time,
    Sorry for my bad english.

    • PandaSmith

      Romain, your English is fantastic! Noted all locations. Ossau Vallee is exactly where I am headed – thanks for the confirmation. Samoenes is a bit far north for our itinerary but if we dip in Stelvio NP on those species, it is nice to have a back up to shoot for. Now, la Touraine? Which one is it? THere seems to be many locations in France with this name. Again, thanks VERY much!

      • Romain

        Hi, thanks for my english !!
        The beavers can be seen in the south of la Touraine, near a small town name “Sainte Maure de Touraine, 37”, near “Châteaux of the Loire Valley” it’s were we lived, if you need place to stay tell me. (5 hours road north from Ossau valley)
        2 hours road in the south in the river “La Charente”, there are one good place for otters, and an other place for european mink but very difficult.
        Have good time.

      • PandaSmith

        Thanks again Romain. Got it. I think it may be a bit too far north for me on this trip but I will definitely mark it for our future exploits in France. And thanks for the offer! Cheers.

  • Jurek

    I saw Iberian Ibex at Andujar, crossing the stream under the big dam (one with the big reservoir). Just afterwards is a small tunell with bats.

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