Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sunday 21st.March 2010

Well , it looks as if the fault with my own computer is terminal , as two people have now looked at it and both have come up with that answer . So , once again I am grateful for the loan of my neighbour's Mac , but also once again , I have no facility to 'crop' pictures .
After yesterday's horrible weather , in which we hedgelayed as quickly as possible , and got a soaking into the bargain , this morning looked as if it was going to be just as grey and miserable , albeit the drizzle had passed through overnight . But , by lunchtime , the smallest chinks of blue sky started to appear , and that was enough to see me heading out , up on the Downs , to the areas that we had been working on over the winter , to see if that work had been appreciated by the reptiles in the surrounding areas . I would normally have fitted the 100mm. lens for this type of photography , but without the ability to 'crop' , the 100-400mm. lens went on the camera , which also necessitated carrying the tripod around with me . The temperature had not yet risen much , but in the distance , the cloud cover was definitely breaking up . It wasn't too long before I found the first Adder , a male , like all those found again today . It
probably hadn't been above ground for very long , as it was still looking as if it had been run over by a steamroller . They have this ability to flatten their bodies , especially in cooler conditions , so that they can offer the maximum body area to the sun , enabling themselves to warm up quicker . There was then quite a time before I found another , and it was in fact at the
same spot , where the original animal had been joined by a second . One head can be seen at 9 o'clock , but the second , harder to see , half covered by the grey stick at 6 o'clock . In total , I found 7 males on the site , all in the flat position to start with , but as they began to warm up ,
most changed into the coil position . It will probably be another week or so before the females start showing , then the arguments start .
On the way back home , I stopped off at the Common to have a look around . As I arrived , I met another birder who told me that he had recorded a Red Kite gliding over the Common and heading for Hayes Farm earlier in the week , a very encouraging report . On my visit I found lots of small , fast flying moths that I think were Common Heaths , but none of them came to rest to confirm this . No butterflies were seen , probably just a bit too cool for them today .
There were however several very large bumblebees flying around , this one was about 1 inch/2.5cm. long , which was probably the reason for it having to take frequent rest stops . In amongst the Gorse , I stood for some time , watching what looked like two
pairs of Long Tailed Tits , collecting materials for their respective nests , one at each end of the heathland area . I just hope that they have better luck than last year , when their nest was wrecked , most probably by a Magpie . As I headed back to the car , I heard my first singing Chiffchaff of the year , and although I managed a shot of him in full song , he just would not turn
around , so sorry for the back end shot . By now , although the sky was clear , the sun was already going down , and with it , the temperature , so I headed home for a cuppa .


Phil said...

Very interesting post Greenie, particularly like the picture of the two Adders warming up together, presumably they would be flat mates then?
Hope you get up and running soon PC wise, nothing more frustrating I think.

Warren Baker said...

If you dont ban phil from your comments after that 'joke' Greenie, i'm not visiting you any more :-)

Well done on the Chiffy, and I hope that Red Kite comes over for you.