A visit to South Yorkshire!
On Friday I went over to visit Carl in South Yorkshire with the aim of combining herping with some birding. In fact birds turned out to be the highlight of the visit rather than amphibians and reptiles. In the late afternoon we visited a cathedral where a pair of Peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) reside, they were both present and we even saw them mating, as well as the male bringing back a killed Starling. After this nice stop Carl took me to an area where he had recently seen a Little owl (Athene noctua), the owl was there again and by slowly pulling up the car alongside we were able to watch and photograph it. After dark it was time for some herps, although the first thing we saw was a Badger (Meles meles) running along the side of the country road. We wanting to inspect some man made ponds on agricultural land, and the first one delivered around half a dozen Smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris), on the way to a second pond we crossed paths with several Common toads (Bufo bufo) and at the pond itself we saw a single male Great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). At a third pond we came across about 20 dead Common frogs (Rana temporaria) which probably died from a sudden frost as the area we were was quite high and cool. Thankfully some frogs were alive as well as some toads, two Great crested and a few Smooth newts.
The next day it was foggy until around 12pm, first we visited a potential new Adder site, no snakes but we found a single male Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara). After this we visited a Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) site and under some pieces of tin we found a male and a female specimen, this was the earliest Carl had seen them in his area. With the weather improving we dedicated some hours to searching for Grass snakes (Natrix natrix) without any success, but in doing saw we crossed paths with some Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) and a few Buzzards (Buteo buteo).