Today I went for a short hike around an area just over the Yorkshire border not too far from where I live. This area mostly consists of open heather moorland and the Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) can be found throughout this area, although usually in small densities. In a bracken covered, humid valley I found 10 or so lizards in half an hour, include tiny neonates, to adult gravid females. This is probably the highest number of lizards I have seen during one visit in my local area.
I’ve had a nice weekend down south searching for herps, read all about it here
One evening this week I had a quick search for Adders (Vipera berus), but in very heavy rain I didn’t hold much hope. However, lifting some ground cover I found many Common toads (Bufo bufo), followed by two female adders curled up together under some debris. As they were both ‘old friends’ and gravid, I left them alone and searching some more I uncovered the first male adder I have seen since April. Great! A second visit a few days later, in cloudy weather I saw 3 females, again all gravid, and specimens I had seen before.
On Saturday, again in hot weather, I managed to see two female Adders (Vipera berus) basking next to each other and then a couple of hours later I found one of these females beneath a flat stone. On Sunday, I went for a hike on the moorland surrounding my village and went for a swim in a nice pond where I used to go when I was a child. There was a very large population of Palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus) together with many well-developed tadpoles of Common frog (Rana temporaria). In most areas close to me newts have left the water by now, so I was surprised to still see the males in breeding condition and demonstrating some courtship behavior. Despite this I could still see lots of newt larvae together with the 30 or so adults I could see in one area of the pond so perhaps in remote locations they spend most of the summer in the water.