Saturday, 31 March 2012


On thursday, myself and Simon, a fellow blogger whose blog Red Gannet is well worth a look, paid a visit to the North Downs in search of snakes.
The weather was appropriately warm and bright and a singing Blackcap added to the illusion of a summer's morning, instead of March. It wasn't more than a couple of minutes before we located our first Adder of the morning, lying in the grass facing the early sun. I confess to being a complete novice when it comes to identifying the gender of these super creatures so I won't speculate. I think though that i'm safe in saying that this one will soon be sloughing its skin, the misty blue eyes being the giveaway.

It wasn't too much longer before we we chanced upon what we first thought was quite a large Adder lying partly concealed on the very edge of a covering of Hawthorns. Closer inspection revealed that there were in fact two snakes basking together. If you click on the picture you should be able to make out two heads and two pairs of very red, piercing eyes. As before, we gratefully took a couple of pictures and retreated quietly to leave them in peace.

I know! I said I wasn't going to post another lizard picture for at least two weeks. I'm quite embarrassed at my lack of willpower, but in my defense, this one has lost its tail at sometime or other which makes it a bit different than the others. It was one of several found during our visit, how could I leave it out?

The butterfly above is a Green Hairstreak and it's the first of the year for me. I thought it was a small moth at first as it whizzed around us in the sun, typically showing the brown of its upper wings, not the green of the undersides which identifies it at rest. The other first of the year butterfly seen was a Holly Blue, which was soon gone before a picture could be taken.

The fifth and last Adder we found was the one above who was soaking up the warmth under a piece of refugia, round about midday.

It was a very enjoyable visit and I was amazed at how quickly our three hours or so had passed by. Surprisingly we didn't find a single Grass snake. But we did find quite a few Slow worms, I haven't posted a picture because they are lizards aren't they and i'm already pushing my luck.

Good to meet you properly Simon.


Warren Baker said...

I love those little Green hairsrteaks, I get bit obsessed with trying to find them here ( along with everything else!!)

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Sounds like a good visit .
Well done indeed with the Green Hairstreak , the first I have seen reported this year .
From here would say all your Adders are males .

Redgannet said...

Hi Phil,
thanks again for a great morning out.
I note that Greenie reckons them all to be males.
You mentioned the inbreeding problem. There was a piece about that on Countryfile tonight. I am sure you can catch it on I-PLAYER.

ShySongbird said...

Great Adder photos Phil and well done with the Green Hairstreak, that is pretty early even for your neck of the woods I would think!

If you see Lizards please keep showing them!! :-)

Noushka said...

Usually by mid-March I see my first adders but so far this season I haven't seen the tail of one!
nice series of pictures!

Ken. said...

Looks like you and fellow blogger had a very good walk on the downs. A great little butterfly the Green Hairstreak.
Nice Adder shots.