After helping Carol with the weekend shopping , as I'm out again tomorrow on the first outing of the hedgelaying season with the Surrey Hedgelaying Group , I couldn't decide where to head for , given the forecast of gale force winds .In the end , I decided on the Greensand Ridge , for leisure this time . Obviously , reptiles were the target species , but , on arrival , I was immediately bombarded by one of the Odonata species . In a sunny glade , I disturbed a male Southern Hawker , which then showed it's annoyance , by targeting me with near misses . Eventually , he got bored , or tired , and I watched him settle on some Bracken . I slowly made my way over , and got my shots , before leaving him in peace , to enjoy the sunshine .
The first pair of refugia lifted produced 2 Slow Worms and an immature Grass Snake , I was off with a flier . Another adult Grass Snake at the next pair , but then things started to slow down . The only Adder of the visit was in one of the new glades we cut out of Sweet Chestnut coppice last Autumn , and I'm pretty sure it was the same specimen that we found there on the last Reptile survey . Being on top of a ridge , the wind was quite gusty , but not as bad as the forecast , but it certainly kept butterfly numbers down . I did find one Comma , feeding on Bramble fruit , but it looked very slow and lethargic . In the next glade , which we call the 'Bomb Hole' , because of it's crater shape , two more male Southern Hawkers and a male Common Darter were recorded . Round by the lake , a female Pheasant , with dark markings , casually wandered into view , scratched about a bit , then wandered off again . The refugia around the lake produced 2 immature Grass Snakes , but nothing more . Two non reptile species found under refugia were a Pigmy Shrew and a Wood Mouse , both having made nests under tins , but both much too quick to enable a photograph . In total , 1 Adder , 8 Slow Worms and 7 Grass Snakes , mostly immature specimens , were recorded .
The only other butterfly recorded was the Speckled Wood , numbering 14 .The wind kept bird sightings well down , the best being a Bullfinch calling and a Chiffchaff singing .
On my way home , I stopped briefly at Bough Beech Reservoir , where things were equally as quiet , but I did see good numbers of Swallows and Sand Martins , feeding whilst heading South , and a singing Reed Warbler down by the visitor centre .
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