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Saturday, 10 April 2010

Addled with Success!



Another more prolonged look at a local heath/ wood was more successful with at least 14 Adders seen (6 males, 5 females and 3 immatures), 3 Grass Snakes (including 1 big beast of a Snake!) and 2 Viviparous Lizard- they were seen in 2 specific areas. This almost trebles my previous tally of 5 Adders seen ever! A pathetic total, now more respectable in double figures. The best areas to see the Adders were namely sunny spots of heather bushes and bracken. Taking the path down from the start of the site, down the sandy path at about half way down, the Snakes were encountered, they were not out in the open but would frequently rest under the heather in sunlit areas. By the far the best way to see them was to look 6-10 feet ahead taking care with small quiet movements and making sure one's shadow didn't fall on an area where the Snakes were. Another really good tip was to listen for the rustling of them slithering through the undergrowth and anticipate where they might show. A particularly good spot was just west of Pylon 97. A male Adder here seemed to be oblivious to my presence and would repeatedly return to a tiny clearing in the heather as well climbing up to around 2 and half feet of a heather bush nearby looking at me and even curling up and basking in the sun, sadly the foliage blocked what would have been a really good photo.
The male Adders were a striking black and white colour, the females had black zig- zags on brown bodies (the older females had a very bold black pattern) and the youngsters a small black wavy pattern on a brown body.
All 3 Grass Snakes were seen in this area including 1 beast of a Snake, the largest Natrix I've ever seen, almost Pythonesque!! 1 Viviparous Lizard was seen here to. Several Blackcaps and Chiff- Chaffs were seen here to. A lovely Brimstone flew along the path, several Peacocks were seen here too.
At the end of the path, I took the route north and by the small Silver birches I saw a couple of Adders, a male and a female just to the east of the path again by some heather bushes and retracing my steps I saw another Viviparous Lizard showing reasonably well.
Roger C then called and I was seen able to join him at Ashby Dell and we witnessed a displaying Buzzard flying up high then swooping down in display flight over a nearby wood. 
It was good to see John B, who I hadn't seen for a while and we swapped info about Orchid sites and then we got some news that a herd of Red Deer nearby. Taking the road to Somerleyton and parking just past the gatehouse (with 4 white pillars at the front- like a Greek temple) just north of Kitty's farm, we looked west and we could see 21 Red Deer grouped under the shade of an Oak tree. There were 2 seated stags amongst them.
Finally on arriving home, I heard my first Willow Warbler of the year singing from the grounds of the Parkhill Hotel.

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