Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Tuesday 9th.September 2008

Well , we did manage to fence the field before the rain set in , but apart from Corvids , Wood Pigeons and a couple of flocks of Swallows , nothing of interest was seen . So , carrying on from yesterday :

Leaving Bough Beech , I made my first of two stops on the Greensand Ridge . Just five pairs of refugia on the site , but it was unusually quiet . The total count of 5 Common Lizards and a single Slow Worm , no sign of the several Grass Snakes known on the site . The heather is still in bloom , attracting lots of bees , and a very fresh looking Peacock butterfly .

By the time I got to the second site , the cloud had rolled in and sun had disappeared . Almost straight away I found a fungi that I had found on Keston Common at the weekend , but looking much more vibrant , having lost it's initial bloom . The perfectly named Amethyst deciever -Laccaria amethystea . A little further on towards the first set of refugia , I found another of the Amanita family , Amanita citrina-False Death Cap , not listed as poisonous , but because it can be confused with others of the family which are , is to be avoided . On arriving at the first set of refugia , I found this very gravid , carrying young , female Adder , stretched out on top of the tin . Unlike the Grass Snake which lays eggs from which the young hatch out of , the female Adder carries her eggs within her body , where they hatch out , and she gives birth to live juveniles . Under the felt was a sub.adult Grass Snake .

On the next tin was this Dark Bush Cricket , but this time it was a female , identified by the scimitar shaped ovipositor on the end of her abdomen . There was nothing under this refugia . At the next pair , I was about to turn them over , when I saw this female Adder , laying in the brash to the left , nice to find them in more natural situations . The odd juvenile Grass Snake and Slow Worm were found , then this very pregrant looking Slow Worm . The next pair of refugia , were where I have been finding the really big Grass Snake . So I lifted the felt first-nothing . He must be under the tin . I lifted the tin expecting the big one , when all hell let loose as five adult Grass Snakes exploded like a star burst to get out of there . Once again , I had the camera ready and managed to get this shot . By the time another shot was possible , there wasn't anything in the frame .The next pair produced a male Adder lying alongside the tin , two sub.adult Grass Snakes and a Slow Worm under the tin and three juvenile Slow Worms under the felt .

My special moment of the day occurred at the next pair of refugia . As I approached , I could make out animals on them through the Bracken . I took a banker shot , which turned out pretty rubbish , then closed in . The closest animal , a female Adder sensed me and shot off immediately . The other , a male Adder stayed in position for a few seconds before it too disappeared . Then I saw a movement , which turned out to be a recently born juvenile slide out from under the tin and across the felt . It was about 12cm. in length . I managed two shots before that disappeared as well . When I looked at the rubbish shot on the computer screen , you could see the female with another juvenile coiled up beside her . When I got round to looking underneath , I found a sub.adult Grass Snake under the tin .

The last three pair of refugia produced a sub. adult and a juvenile Grass Snake . So the final tally over the two sites was - 7 Adders , 10 Grass Snakes , 7 Slow Worms and 5 Common Lizards . I did find two more Pigmy Shrews today , but they didn't want their photo taken .

My last stop was Limpsfield Chart . Like the Commons near me , the recent rain has produced a bumper fungi crop . I was hoping to find Dog Stinkhorn , having found it here in the past , but was not lucky . What I did find was a very colourful one Mycene pura .
And finally , one that anyone who eats Mushroom soup will have eaten , Boletus edulis-Cep or Penny Bun .
Tomorrow the job is digging and concrete mixing , so very unlikely to attract wildlife . I will probably post some more shots from the Farne Islands .


Warren Baker said...

Some very exciting snakey shots Greenie. I never knew so many snakes could get in one place.

Steve said...

Some great reptile shots Fred...all those Grass Snakes - superb!