Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wednesday 22nd.July 2009

Full of enthusiasm , we set off for the Dormouse/Reptile survey up on the Greensand Ridge . It's amazing though , how that enthusiasm wanes , as box after box are found empty , apart from Earwigs and Centipedes . Add in the tangle of Brambles that had to be fought through , and Stinging Nettles well over head height , so it was good to find a Dormouse , albeit torpid , a state of semi hibernation .It was a male , weighing in at 15 grammes , but we would much rather have found a new family in that box , but we mustn't be greedy . That was about halfway through the first 50 boxes , and the second half provided nothing more than a nest of angry Wasps , who attacked me as soon as I opened the lid . I backed off quickly , but still got stung four times for my trouble . Fortunately , I do not seem to have reacted the same as I did last week , and although itchy , the sting sites are not swollen . Even the refugia , layed down for Reptiles on the site , didn't produce , due partly to the height of the Bracken shading them out . Two smaller sites close by did produce A fleeting glimpse of a female Adder , a Grass Snake and a couple of Slow Worms , one very pregnant . In between sites , an immature Southern Hawker was found , hawking for insects in the broad rides . Surprisingly , as they normally stay on the wing for ages , this one came to rest on some vegetation on the side , and posed for a shot .
After a spot of lunch , we headed off to do the other 20 boxes and 20 pairs of refugia . The empty boxes continued for Dormice , but we did find good numbers of Copper Underwing moths , using the boxes as sanctuary , waiting for the return of night .We also started finding immature Grass Snakes under the refugia , far too quick for the camera , but the odd adult did hang around , even if it didn't want to show it's face . When entering another glade , an almost mature female Southern Hawker was on the wing , and surprisingly , she came to rest as well for a shot . The only Adder photo opportunity came shortly afterwards , but this male was already on the move as the shot was being taken , and we watched him move uphill to safety of a Holly tree stump . A total of 2 Adders , 14 Grass Snakes and 9 Slow Worms were recorded . Another Dormouse was found at the second site , but he was definitely not torpid , and there was no chance of a picture . We did disturb what I think was a Large Yellow Underwing , a large moth measuring about 4 cm . , but it only wanted to get under the leaf litter on the ground , out of sight , so we left it alone . The only other thing of interest found , was this Lesser Stag Beetle-Dorcus parallelopipedus . Before leaving the yard for home , I thought I would get a couple of updated shots of the pair of Snowy owls . The male first , followed by the female , both looking very well , both with a great set of talons .


Warren Baker said...

Your getting imune to the wasp stings now greenie!
is that doormouse hibernating early, or is it their time now ?

Greenie said...

Warren ,
He should be wide awake , this is their breeding time . Probably the cooler temperatures lately after the hot spell has encouraged the torpid state .
October -May is their normal hibernation period .

Kingsdowner said...

Summer is a good time to be torpid.

Shame about the stings...all that dicing with death with adders, and you get stung by wasps. That must be really annoying.