Field day: 18th June

Despite the prediction of bad weather this week, Carl Corbidge came over and we set out to see some herps. First, a quick stop at my local adder site where 5 large and healthy female Vipera berus were quickly found. The second one being the same female as last week sat in exactly the same spot. With a slight improvement in the weather we drove across Lancashire to the Merseyside coast where we met with Dave Hardaker. Now with quite warm weather, Dave spotted three female Sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) and we also managed to find 5 Natterjack toads (Bufo calamita)! Smashing! After this we drove to a nearby spot for Slow-worms (Anguis fragilis), and despite the site being heavily overgrown with nettles and bramble we managed to turn up 4 specimens. Thanks Dave!

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Carl and Dave failing to keep up their guard as I snap away...

Female Sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Cute Natterjack (Bufo calamita) (C) Matt Wilson

Slow worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Slow worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

Slow worm (Anguis fragilis) (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson

Adders brings sunshine on a very wet weekend

Female Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Since I returned to the north of England from Greece the weather has been truly dire, strong winds together with heavy rain have kept me indoors 😦 However, on Sunday I went for a walk around a local site which holds a very small population of Vipera berus, despite the previously mentioned wind, and even a few light drops of rain I stumbled across a large female. Usually from June onward male adders seem to just vanish until the Autumn, but the females with young developing inside them show far more willing to venture out. The habitat already looked very different than a month ago, with bracken half way grown and covering the male’s basking spots from March, as well as much longer grass and vegetation around the dry stone walls. Therefore I was very pleased to find this nice female out and about and I will keep an eye out for more of them over the summer. Thanks to some photos I have taken of the heads of each snake at this location I can establish that this is a ‘new’ female to me in this very small population. Because such snakes are usually active at this time to aid their developing offspring, I did not bother the snake for too many photos, but did do a short video. Furthermore, with some limited stone turning in the wet, I found only Common toads (Bufo bufo).

In addition I was pleased about the recent release of a very nice book, ‘‘The private life of adders” by Rodger Mcphail. Like myself, Rodger has spent years observing northern reptiles and is a highly recommended read of a personal account of adders for anyone interested in native species.

Female Adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson

Last day on Milos!

I am near the end of my trip to Milos, and have made some fantastic findings, of course including the endemic, and very beautiful Milos viper (Macrovipera schweizeri). Today I visited the small island of Kimolos and also managed to find a Milos viper there, but sadly tomorrow I start my journey back to the UK. I have chosen a photo of the largest viper we found on Milos. Expect a report next week!

90cm Milos viper (Macrovipera schweizeri) specimen of 90cm (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson