May male adders

Having sloughed a couple of weeks ago, the male adders were looking in good shape. They were interacting and even started to combat, something I’ve never seen before despite so much adder watching.

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By Matt Wilson

Spring?

There is no denying it, this “spring” has been truly awful. This day last year I watched mating adders at 7am as by 9am it would be too hot for them to even be out. Not this year, you’d be lucky to see any of the females out in the middle of the day with the temperatures and weather we’ve had this April. So therefore I do not have any nice reptile photos to share. The weather has not hindered the bird life so far and to compensate I’ve added a few photos below taken over the past weeks. For more local wildlife photos see my 2016 album.

In a month’s time I will head to Slovakia, where I will do some family time stuff combined with herping. There is a plan for a summer trip to Morocco between myself, Carl and the Dutch lad Gerjan Verspui. That’s because we love walking around in 45 degree heat 😉

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By Matt Wilson

Costa Rica 2016 photos!

So we’ve just returned from a successful 12 days in the Osa peninsula in south-western Costa Rica. Although there was always some risk of missing certain species at the end of the dry season (which turned out to be true), we found a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and marine life. We even made friends with an orphaned Ocelot! I didn’t think it was possible for Costa Rica to be so dry, according to locals the driest in a long time. This initially made finding even common amphibians rather hard work, but in the end persistence paid off.

Many thanks to Adam Bland, Mike Boston, Marcelo Carvajal, Andrew Gray and especially Eduardo Castro Rojas for help before and during the trip.

I’m afraid I’ve been very lazy and not written a field report but instead added the photos to an album. Click here or on the image below.

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One highlight was finding the rare Bromeliad boa (Ungaliophis panamensis)

 

 

By Matt Wilson

Adder emergence 2016

I haven’t been able to visit the local adders (Vipera berus) until today so far this year which is a bit later than usual. At one site 2 males and more surprisingly a female were found followed by a visit to two other spots where one individual was found at each. Both of the latter two sites seem to have very small populations these days, probably not more than 10 individuals at each location.

Common frogs (Rana temporaria) have been breeding over the past week as well.


  
  
  

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By Matt Wilson

The past few weeks..

I haven’t seen any adders yet although many people I know have seen them for several weeks in other areas of the country. A few nights ago there was a big movement of Common frogs (Rana temporaria), although it snowed only hours later. I didn’t see any newts or toads. Up on the tops I saw some nice Mountain hares (Lepus timidus) in their full winter coats and several local short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) have been showing well. One sat on a post very close to my car but whenever I stopped the car it would fly a few posts down albeit a very co-operate individual for this species. The roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) group who feed outside my apartment window most mornings have also been showing well.

My next post should feature some snakes 😉

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By Matt Wilson

Catalonia & Aragón

Myself and Carl have just spent four days in north-eastern Spain photographing vultures and other birds of prey. We hired two hides to photograph lammergeiers, black vultures and griffon vultures and then we spent two days exploring the lowlands of Aragón. Unfortunately with freezing temperatures we were unable to find amphibians and reptiles.

Click here to visit my online photo album or click here to go to the photo gallery. Thanks to Enrique Ruiz for providing some help for places to visit during our stay and to Steve West and Jordi Bas at Birding in Spain.

By Matt Wilson

Short-eared owl

 

Just a quick post to share some photographs of a Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) from today. I spend a lot of time photographing these owls on my locals moors in the spring and summer when they are breeding but in winter they usually leave for coastal areas and foreign shores. Today this owl was resting in the grass after eating a vole and thanks to Katarína for calling me over to it’s whereabouts and then to Brian who very kindly allowed me to use his 800mm lens to photograph it. Thanks Brian!

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By Matt Wilson

New Year, new me. Doubtful.

A very happy 2016 to all of my blog readers and I hope that you all have some nice plans for the coming year. I have a number of exciting trips lined up this year which will allow me to observe a number of amphibians and reptiles that I haven’t seen before as well as some familiar species.

Although the mild winter has allowed frogs and newts to be active in my local area, I have nothing but bird photographs to share with you at the moment. A number of days out allowed for some nice observations, mainly of owls, including a communal roost of Long-eared owls (Asio otus).

All the best for 2016,

Matt

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By Matt Wilson

Winter outings

On Saturday I ventured over to Lincolnshire to see the annual gathering of Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) when the females come ashore to give birth to their pups. This week over 1500 pups were counted along this beach. Closer to home, two short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) have arrived on a quiet stretch of local moorland for the winter which have kept me busy for a couple of evenings.

Although no amphibians and reptiles around I am already thinking about the Black-headed bushmaster I’m going to catch in Costa Rica in March 😉


By Matt Wilson