Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday 25th. March 2011

With temperatures set to drop over the next few days , I decided to look for reptiles up on the Downs today . The closer I got , the thicker the mist , until on arrival the visibility was down to less than 25 mtrs. Not exactly what I had planned , but in minutes the sun broke though the mist and 10 minutes later , what mist ? It wasn't too long before the first Adder was found , as all so far this season , a male . A bit further on , a pair , flattened out to absorb the maximum warmth from the now pleasant sunshine . After the initial excitement , things went quiet apart from the odd Common Lizard or Slow Worm , until a fluttering butterfly caught my attention , some distance down a slope . The getting down , and up , was worth it though , as it turned out to be a Small Tortoiseshell , nectaring on the Common Dog Violets that were carpeting the slope . Another quiet spell , till a call from an Ivy clad tree , told me that it could be my second singing Warbler of the year , a male Blackcap . I'm pretty sure that it was in the same place as my first of the species last year . By now , the temperature had risen somewhat , and the Adders , like me , were finding things a bit warm , and had retired into the vegetation to get some shade , like these two , if only I could have . Once again , it was just Common Lizards and Slow Worms that were found for quite some time , until , unexpectedly these two males were found , under one of the tin refugia , the first two Adders found under refugia , anywhere , this year . It wasn't just the Small Tortoiseshell nectaring on the Violets , just one of many Bee Flies seen today , nectaring whilst still on the wing . Apart from the Violets , Primroses and the odd Dandelion and Daisy , not much else has come into flower yet , but on the edge of the woodland , Wood Spurge/Euphorbia amygdaloides is doing it's best , even if the flowers will open greeny/yellow . Whilst passing , another look at the Early Purple Orchids , harder to find as everything else around them is grow and enveloping them . Once the flower spike shoots up , they will be easily seen again . Other butterfly species recorded today included 2 Comma , 5 Peacock and at least 15 Brimstone , all males . The were using the Primroses as refuelling stops , as they charge around the woodland edge . One particular individual lifted off just as I took the shot , and gave a not very often seen view of the upper wings , as normally , they close their wings as soon as they land or settle at rest .
In total , 9 Adders , 7 Common Lizards and 7 Slow Worms were recorded , and shortly after lunchtime , the sunshine went milky , the temperature started to drop with the breeze and things really started to go quiet .


Kingsdowner said...

Sounds like you're starting to suffer from the heat, Fred.
A good variety of shots there, though.

ShySongbird said...

You are doing well for reptiles Greenie! The excitement may have gone quiet for you with Lizards and Slow Worms but I would be thrilled to find some :)

I have seen several Small Tortoiseshells in the last few days, I think their numbers have improved in the last couple of years. It was nice to see the Brimstone with wings open for a change and lovely to see one on my favourite wildflower.

Nice to see the Blackcap too.

Paul said...

Hi Greenie, some great pics there mate. As usual you have found high numbers of Adders, your reptile location sounds like a very good place. I had an email sent to me the other day, telling me of a good place in Kent to view a possible Black Adder(no not the comedienne!)but the snake. Im hoping to pay the area a visit soon.

Phil said...

Great list of goodies Greenie. Don't know how you manage to find so many snakes! I never see them, must be in the wrong places. Still to get my first lizard even!
Is it my imagination or are there more Brimstones about so far this year?