Friday, 27 March 2009

Friday 27th.March 2009

Grey skies and the constant threat of rain , gave me the chance to catch up with some chores this morning . The threat never really came to anything until lunch time , when it tipped it down , then cleared to almost blue skies . The forecast was for heavier showers in the afternoon , but seeing as they got it wrong once , I thought I would take a chance , and headed off to the Greensand Ridge . Just my luck , as I arrived , so did the clouds , and a cool wind . I decided that as I was there , I would turn some tins , not expecting much in those conditions . Well , I wasn't disappointed , after turning 19 pairs of refugia , I had amassed one Slow Worm .
Fortunately , away from the refugia , I found a single and a pair of male Adders laying out , even though there was no sign of the sun . The singleton looked enormous , as Adders have the ability to flatten out their bodies , so that the maximun area can be warmed , when the sun comes out . The pair together were also using the same strategy , how much warmth they were getting was debatable .Whilst walking , I found the first Bluebell of the year in flower , well just two bells in flower . Also found was the first member of the Speedwell family in flower . A large family this one , and the species found was Common Field Speedwell , identified by the bottom petal of the flower being white , whereas the other three are blue with darker blue veins .
Few insects were around on this chilly afternoon , but the orange coloured Dung fly was around in reasonable numbers , and a few large Buff Tailed Bumblebees were seen . Not much for them to feed on , but one opportunity was the catkins of Goat Willow , providing nectar in hard times . The second site I visited did no better under refugia than the first . We have cleared Gorse , up to three metres high from the site earlier in the year , but have left Juniper , one of only four native evergreen trees , in the hope that they will regenerate , now they have room and light . One male Adder was found in amongst last year's bracken .
On the third site visited , at last animals were found under the refugia . A single Common Lizard was found under one , and surprisingly it had already started to slough , shed it's old skin , as can be seen on it's hind legs . A trio of adult Slow Worms were found under another refugia , must have been keeping each other warm .

Birdwise , things were very quiet , not helped by the wind . Passing a private lake , I did see 18 Greylag and 11 Canada Geese , 2 Tufted Duck and the odd Coot and Moorhen . Probably the best of the rest was hearing a Nuthatch and Green Woodpecker and a brief glimpse of a Sparrowhawk , working the woodland edge and a calling Chiffchaff . At least I kept dry , and within half an hour of getting back home , the heavens opened again .


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie
What a nice selection of wildlife photographs. Always nice to see picture of Adders.

Warren Baker said...

Those adders might have had trouble keeping warm today, but tomorrow they will really struggle. outlook bodes fairer though. Nice post Greenie.

ShySongbird said...

Another fascinating post and great photos.

baggywrinkles said...

Hi Greenie
Blimey you must have te UK populous of reptiles on your patch!!!
Great stuff