Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Just a quick post to wish the followers of my blog a Merry Xmas and a Happy 2012. My plans for next year have already started to take shape, Corsica is now booked, and I can’t wait to get the 2012 herping season under way. I spent Boxing day on the East coast on an RSPB reserve watching Marsh harriers (Circus aeruginosus), once a very rare sight in the UK, these impressive raptors are now making a remarkable come back. Other nice sightings today included Hen harrier, and a Barn owl. In around two months birds will take a back seat once more when the amphibians and reptiles begin to surface 🙂

Some Marsh harrier photos from today, all taken at quite a distance away:

Marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

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By Matt Wilson

Winter update

Firstly I must offer a small apology for not being able to upload a field report on my trip to Spain in October, but due to slow server problems the blog could not handle all of my photos. Thankfully this has now been resolved, but the report will probably never happen anyway, simply because I become a lot lazier during the winter. Sorry. But please see Carl’s report from our trip on his blog.

No herping since that trip to Spain and I am ever so slightly losing my mind (as I do during most Winters), some birding does help ease the pain, but not when trying to photograph the Peregrines, Kestrels and Sparrowhawks on the moorland around my village which has proved so far to be very frustrating since they are extremely shy and do not allow a close approach like reptiles do. Very poor weather conditions recently have not helped photography either. Anyway on a brighter note I have been invited back to Corfu next May for the Gerald Durrell’s week by the Durrell School of Corfu. I had a great time this year and I am eager to get back into the field with the three Daves: Dave Ashcroft, David Bellamy, and David Shimwell.  Another trip on the cards is Corsica, an island I have wanted to visit for years for its beauty and of course endemic species, but I’ve never quite made it. I should have been there last year and this year! But it looks like it may finally happen in 2012 with fellow herping maniacs Carl Corbidge (as always!), Liam Russell and hopefully Dave Hardaker from the North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile group. A summer trip to Northern Spain/Portugal or the Pyrenées is a distinct possibility.

Whilst going through some of my photos, I came across a video I had forgotten I had even made! So here it is, an adult Four-lined snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata) filmed after its release in it’s olive grove habitat in Corfu this year:

By Matt Wilson