Friday, 15 April 2011

Friday 15th.April 2011

Had planned for a return trip up onto the Downs this morning , but those plans changed , and I finished up giving Carol a lift up to town , then stopping off at Spring Park Pond for a look around . With less wind , the temperature was up on yesterday , but things were very quiet . Plenty of bird song from the woods behind , but nothing happening around the pond itself . A walk to the small meadow in search of the odd butterfly also proved fruitless , so I decided that there was only one thing to do , head off to the Greensand Ridge . It was even cooler up there , as I headed for the spot where I had 3 Adders last visit . On arrival , not a single animal and nothing seen on the way there . Walking on , I hadn't gone 20 mtrs. , when I spotted a male and female enjoying the morning sunshine on a mossy bank . I left them to enjoy the warmth and did a loop around the surrounding area . Arriving back at the original spot , I looked in on the pair , and through steamed up glasses , saw that the big female now had her head on the male's shoulder , so to speak . I headed off again in a different direction and returned some 15 minutes later to find two had become three , a second male in close attendance below the steamy pair . This could be interesting I thought to myself , and set up the tripod and waited . All was calm for a while , then the new male started moving up to the pair above him . With that , the original male reared up to protect his prize from the interloper . Thus began 5 minutes of combat , with each male trying to subdue the other , whilst crashing their way at speed through the ground vegetation . Once they got started in anger , the female turned and disappeared over the top of the mossy bank . To and fro , the two males were hard to follow with the camera and the speed of their movements was incredible . Sometimes the moves were vertical , supported by the vegetation , and sometimes horizontal , through the same vegetation . Every now and again , they would disappear out of sight , only to pop up again a short distance away . Most of the time they were entwined , but sometimes they just ran side by side , like a pair of racehorses . Eventually , they got further and further away , and just after this shot , disappeared from view for good . I waited for 20 minutes or so , but no movement was seen . I was due home for lunch , so made my way back to the car , thinking what a lucky person I am , having now seen the 'Dance of the Adders' for the fifth time . After lunch , I thought I would wind down with a walk over the Common . As I passed the horse field on the bottom lane , on a very narrow corner was a horse in the road , happily munching on the lush green vegetation . I parked on the corner and showed hazard lights , whilst I tried to get the horse off the road and onto a footpath that runs uphill alongside the field I assumed it had got out of . Not having dealt at all with horses , I was quite relieved when the animal appeared of a good nature , and followed my prodding and pushing . I was glad to see a young couple pull up and the male driver offered to help , adding that he was dead scared of horses . I sent him up the footpath to prevent the horse from exiting the footpath onto another road at the top , and tried to encourage the horse under the fence , where I thought it had got out . No way was he going back under the fence and made it clear that he wanted more of the roadside vegetation . I asked the young chap to get into the field and see if there was anything we could use to barricade the two ends of the footpath , there wasn't . I thought then that we needed help and rang 999 . Whilst waiting for the Police , the young chap found a halter and brought it over . I got it over the horse's head , but I had it upside down . Luckily , the horse allowed me to take it off and put it on properly and buckled it up . I then tied the horse to a fence post , which he didn't like , just before the Police arrived . Between us , we still couldn't get onto the property , when a couple of horse owners from the adjacent field turned up . They didn't have a contact number , but were good at keeping the horse calm . Eventually , we managed to pull up three fence post and whilst treading the wires flat , managed to walk the horse back into the field , repair the fence , and 75 minutes after stopping , I was back heading for the Common . I met a friend there , and had a pleasant walk around with no excitement , until just before we left . But I will tell that story next time after I get confirmation , or otherwise , on a butterfly we found .


ShySongbird said...

Wow! What a day you had Greenie. I wonder if you will be dreaming about combative Adders or escaped horses tonight.

I didn't think you would see the Adder dance again this soon, well done and great photos too!

I'm very intrigued about the butterfly and looking forward to the next post :)

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
So all those years of watching Rawhide as a youngster finally paid off. Sounds like the only thing you didn't do wa brand it.
As for the Adders, by the way, do they ever get called vipers these days?How lucky are you to see the 'Dance of the Adders' for the 5th time. That must have been a sight to see. You did well getting photo's of them.
The female certainly Adder work cut out decing which male to pick.
What a exciting day you had today Greenie.

Simon said...

Sounds a great day Greenie!! I've never been lucky enough to witness the male Adders 'dancing'.

Phil said...

What a fascinating, action packed post Greenie. There seems to be no end to your talents, Snake Charmer, Horse Whisperer, what next?
Well done with the Adder dance, great stuff!

Tim James said...

Great adder sequence and an interesting and highly informative blog. Lovely work.

Kingsdowner said...

What a lucky person you are! Or rather, you make your own luck with the knowledge and experience to forecast that the "dance" might occur.
Great stuff.

Steve said...

Greenie great photos of the adders. I am a member of the Kent Reptile & Amphibian Group. I'm not sure if you have sent us a record of your adders but we would love to 'formally' add them to our data base of adder records. If you would like send us a record please follow this link

many thanks