Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sunday 6th. April 2014

Well , after all the excitement of Friday , I would have liked to have spent some time up on the Greensand Ridge to see if there were any further developments , but visiting was on the cards and a late return home meant no time to post details of a 45 minute visit I managed to squeeze in before heading off .
The early coolness was starting to burn off as I arrived , and I headed straight to the area of Friday's combat , unsure of what I would find . Disappointingly , it turned out to be an area , totally devoid of any Adders . Moving on , I found several males , all in breeding colours , moving quickly around , tongues continuously flicking , no doubt trying to lock onto the scent of a female , and taking very little notice of each other when they came into contact . At one point I found a female surrounded by a triangle of three males , all watching and waiting . Another female , quite close , had no such attention , probably because female Adders only come into breeding condition every other year , so she most probably bred last year , and would not be giving off the scent that the testosterone charged males were searching for . A couple of non-breeding males were enjoying the sun's warmth , and a pleasing find of a fifth juvenile , born last Autumn , was great . I probably spent as much time looking at my watch as the animals during the visit , but with time running out , I couldn't leave without one last look at the combat area , and on the edge of a mossy area I found the female and the
victor from the combat , but no cosy side by side posing this time , as the male was slowly moving over the female in slow , jerky movements that I can only describe like watching an old silent movie . Having witnessed this behaviour before , I knew exactly what was on his mind , but the same thing happened this time as it has in the past , the pair wanted some privacy , and moved into the surrounding vegetation . Through a small gap , I could see the pair writhing around , their tails whipping around searching for the other's . The reproductive organs of Adders are almost at the tail in both sexes , so marrying the two organs together proves somewhat difficult . After a short while , what I have described in the past as being a carousel ride began , where both animals spin around like
a top , which probably helps them line up their bodies . Eventually the carousel slowed down , and
the only movement was their two tails flicking about , then the first sighting that they had joined . Another look at the watch , and out of the corner of my eye , I see another good sized male just two metres away , avidly scenting the air as he closed in on the pair . I watched his approach , not
knowing how this would turn out , especially regarding the large mating male , but he took no notice at all , and the visitor , having had a good close up look as to what was going on , slithered away into the vegetation and wasn't seen again . With the place to themselves , their movements slowly brought
their bodies , well that of the male anyway , more out into the open , and the mating was confirmed . With that , I left them to it and hot-footed it back to the car , thinking along the way that if they are successful and produce young in the Autumn , their offspring should be a bit easier to find , assuming they take after the parents .
Now it's down to processing the photos , no hardship today as it's already raining .


Warren Baker said...

Another informative post Greenie, I'm learning lots about Adders, just wish there were a few here to study :-)

Ken. said...

You certainly adder couple of good days out recently, first the dancing then the breeding,what's next?