Friday, 23 March 2012

Friday 23rd. March 2012

First job this morning was to go 'up to the smoke' , and collect my macro lens that rolled out of the back of the car , and landed with a heart stopping thud - on concrete , a couple of weeks ago . I knew straight away it was bad news , and that was confirmed when I got the estimate for the repair , but as Carol said at the time , a lesson learnt , make sure the lens was secure , before I drove off . Returning with the lens at lunchtime , all I wanted to do was to take it out and give it a good test . With the good weather holding on , where better than back to the Greensand Ridge . Trouble was , by just after lunch , the temperature was at it's warmest , and any reptiles were lying in the shade , amongst
the vegetation . So I had to resort to taking shots of the likes of a Silver Birch tree , that just shouldn't be standing , but it was . The good news though , was that the lens was working perfectly , and for that I was a happy bunny , even if the bank balance wasn't . Even the birds were quiet in the heat , so wildlife to point the camera at was almost non existent . That was until I was walking along a small path , and as I turned a corner , saw what I knew was an Adder , a female at that , but acting in a very strange way . I can only describe it as her moving across the small path like a corkscrew , with something else involved . As she reached the edge of the path , she must have caught my scent , as she disappeared into the vegetation , leaving the 'something else' on the edge of the path . The 'something else' , turned out to be a Wood Mouse , which the Adder must have just caught , because although it was still lying where she left it , I could see that it was still breathing , but also convulsing . The poison injected from the fangs of the Adder was working on the nervous system of
the Wood Mouse , and within a minute , the convulsions finished and the mouse was still . I was sure the Adder would return for her meal , so got myself ready . Sure enough , after about 5 minutes , I saw movement in the vegetation behind the mouse , then a head . But , she seemed to get my scent again , and disappeared from view . I change my position , and tried to blend in with the Gorse behind me and waited . It seemed like ages , but looking back on the times of the shots later , 12
minutes later , the Adder came back again . This was her appearing from the bottom left of the shot , heading towards her meal . She seemed relaxed in her approach , an soon was at the mouse's head . It would have been gret if all this was taking place out in the open , but the vegetation on the edge of
the path was getting in the way . By now , she had obviously unhinged her lower jaw , and was proceeding to swallow the mouse , head first . I was rivited to the spot , not moving , but either the sound of the camera , or another scent , and she picked up the mouse , and took it deep into the
vegetation , and out of sight . I never saw , or heard any movement , so took up position at the back of the vegetation where there was another small path and beyond that a known hibernacular , in the hope she might head there to digest her meal , but the wait was futile , as no further sighting of the
female occurred . On my way back to the car though , two males had come out to bask in the slightly cooler conditions now . The Common , on my way home , gave a few more test shots , with this male
Pheasant posing on a stump , the underwing of one Peacock butterfly posing on a stump of Gorse ,
and a second of four individuals seen , this time showing it's top wing , this time on very much alive
Gorse . Two male Brimstone and a single Comma were also recorded . And finally , a Red-tailed
Bumblebee , on the same species .


Marianne said...

How amazing to witness an Adder kill. Great report, as usual :)

Warren Baker said...

Good work Greenie, dedication to your wildlifing, great stuff! Patience always brings a reward :-)

ShySongbird said...

What a very special encounter Greenie! I bet not many people witness events like that. Well done, a fascinating account!

I also enjoyed yesterday's post, well apart from the litter lout!

Marc Heath said...

Top shots, what a sight to witness

Phil said...

Another great post Greenie. Very envious of your Adder encounter, you could wait a lifetime and still not see that.
Nice to see a picture of the Peacock too.