Autumn arrives

I haven’t been out very much recently due to a busy start back at work. Adder (Vipera berus) numbers are gradually dying off, 14 females in one visit a month ago is now down to about 5 each visit. Still no sign of any newborn snakes although juvenile common lizards (Zootoca vivipara) have been quite visible. In addition, nice views of a long-eared owl (Asio otus) was a nice encounter at dusk last week.

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Long-eared owl (Asio otus) (C) Matt Wilson

Long-eared owl (Asio otus) (C) Matt Wilson

Little owl (Athene noctua) (C) Matt Wilson

Little owl (Athene noctua) (C) Matt Wilson

Red kite (Milvus milvus) (C) Matt Wilson

Red kite (Milvus milvus) (C) Matt Wilson

Cheeky grey heron waiting for a meal (C) Matt Wilson

Cheeky grey heron waiting for a meal (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

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By Matt Wilson

A good season for adders

As mentioned in my previous post, 2015 has been a great year for many species, especially adders (Vipera berus). I always wondered, what are these birders on about when they say that good seasons for owls depend on if it’s been a “good vole year” and I have actually seen this myself this year for the first time. It has been a good vole year. This has benefited the local adders as well as the raptors with increased numbers of females at one of my local sites. However, at another more remote adder site it would appear that that the adders are also doing well. As we (myself and the lady friend) went for some hiking in one of the most scenic areas of north-west England we briefly stopped at the adder site which consists of beautiful open moorland with bracken, heather, rushes and streams. As I don’t know the adders here individually as I do at the other site I don’t know exactly where each female is during the summer period. But within 10 minutes we came across four large females, three of which appeared gravid. Champion! After this we began our hike in a different area and on the popular walkers track we came across a dead on road Slow worm (Anguis fragilis), known from the general area but not from this village as far as I know.

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Squashed slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Squashed slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Juvenile cuckoo (C) Matt Wilson

Juvenile cuckoo (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson