Warmer…

I’ve been busy out in the field the past two days and I was finally able to enjoy some nicer weather. On Friday, I spent some time searching for Adders (Vipera berus), and although the clouds wouldn’t move it was still quite warm. I managed to find three male adders, all ready to slough, and a large female all of which are well known specimens to me. Another nice observation was watching a Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) land metres away from me and then fly off with a rodent of some kind in its talons. Under a stone I also found a baby Common toad (Bufo bufo).

Male Adder (Vipera berus) ready to slough his skin (C) Matt Wilson

Male Adder (Vipera berus) ready to slough his skin (C) Matt Wilson

Small male Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Small male Adder (Vipera berus) actually photographed sitting out during a rain shower (C) Matt Wilson

Big female in very good condition after her Winter hibernation (C) Matt Wilson

Big female in very good condition after her Winter hibernation (C) Matt Wilson

Male adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Male adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

On Saturday I ventured over” tut tuther side of th’hill” to do some herping with Carl around his more local areas. It was a hot, sunny day so we started early, anticipating that by dinner time it would be too hot for our cooler acclimatised populations. We had a nice total of around 15 adders early on, including a striped or “bilineata” specimen which are very rare in the UK populations. A big thank you to Chris who showed us this beautiful specimen. We also saw a couple of very warmed up Common lizards (Zootoca vivipara) and we found a juvenile adder that appeared to have been killed by a pheasant. Common toads (Bufo bufo) were breeding in large numbers in the reservoirs around the site. After this we visited a site for Grass snakes (Natrix natrix) where in September we found a huge female. None were around, perhaps already too warm. Moving on, we stopped at a small graveyard that has a small population of Slow-worms (Anguis fragilis) and we could find one sub-adult specimen. Just before I headed home we searched one last location where Carl sees the occasional grass snake. Straight away I spotted a smaller specimen basking but it vanished into the vegetation. A short while later he appeared again and I was able to catch him for a quick photo or two.

Male adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Male adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Two male adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Two male adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Male adders (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Male adders (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Spanish-wannabe adder (C) Matt Wilson

Spanish-wannabe adder (C) Matt Wilson

La vibora de Seoane o cantabrica (C) Matt Wilson

La vibora de Seoane o cantabrica (C) Matt Wilson

Easy mistake to make (C) Matt Wilson

Easy mistake to make (C) Matt Wilson

Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Grass snake (Natrix natrix) (C) Matt Wilson

Grass snake (Natrix natrix) (C) Matt Wilson

Grass snake (Natrix natrix) (C) Matt Wilson

Grass snake (Natrix natrix) (C) Matt Wilson

Advertisements
By Matt Wilson

Two firsts for 2013

On Saturday I met up with David Nixon to do a survey for Adders (Vipera berus) not too far away from our regular sites. A sunny start allowed us to see a large male, but it was very much warmed up and slithered away before we could take any photographs. Too bad. At the time I was quite sure it would be the first of many adders we would see, but the strength of the wind increased and gradually the clouds came in. By the early afternoon it was quite cold and we couldn’t find any more snakes. Perhaps the highlight of the day was watching a Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) on the hunt, even hovering at one point. Unfortunately, I only had a macro lens with me so I was unable to take any photographs of this impressive species. Walking along the edge of one of the water channels, Dave spotted a basking male Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis), the first both of us have seen this year. A short while later Dave also stumbled across a lone male Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) making its way across land to his breeding pond. Despite the dramatic change in weather we still had a nice day out, and hopefully some consistent, nice weather can’t be too far away now. No doubt the British weather will prove me wrong yet again…

Male Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Male Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Male Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Male Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Male Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) (C) Matt Wilson

Male Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson

Snow Adders!

March has been awful. Truly awful. I decided that I could not stay in doors for another weekend and ventured over to Yorkshire to meet up with Carl and do some herping. It was still very cold, and upon collecting me from the station Carl drove us to a good spot to see Little owl (Athene noctua). These are one of my favourite birds, and during my trips to Greece they can be seen everyday, but they are far less frequently seen at home. Luckily enough one of the owls was sat in the wall of an old abandoned shed. After dark we decided to be brave and do a short amphibian search. It was absolutely freezing, we were ready to give up after ten minutes but then Carl spotted a male Great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). The following day, although still cold with an icy wind the sun was shining. Within 15 minutes we managed to find 15 male Adders (Vipera berus), many of which were basking next to patches of snow. A further two were found at a different site, and at a slightly higher altitude only one adder could be seen along with two brave Viviparous lizards (Zootoca vivipara). What was intended to be a short search at a possible new location for adders turned out to be an epic Bear Grylls quest (although we don’t kill and eat wildlife). We ended up clambering through deep snow and very dense trees and bushes to reach the bottom of a valley so we could cross the river to the other side. Despite our considerable efforts only a further two Common lizards could be seen at the site.

Little owl (Athene noctua) (C) Matt Wilson

Little owl (Athene noctua) (C) Matt Wilson

Little owl (Athene noctua) (C) Matt Wilson

Little owl (Athene noctua) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

How many? (C) Matt Wilson

How many? (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Three together (C) Matt Wilson

Three together (C) Matt Wilson

Adders (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adders (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Triumphant! (C) Carl Corbidge

Triumphant! (C) Carl Corbidge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Matt Wilson