Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Now For The Amphibians

With above average February temperatures and some light rain, conditions were ideal last night for amphibians to start moving to their breeding ponds. With bucket, torch and camera I set off to roads surrounding a couple of upland reservoirs. At the first road, Common Toads Bufo bufo were on the move, this is an early date with Easter normally the peak time for toad movement. There were already a few road casualties so I scooped the living animals up and transfered them off the road. Up to the next reservoir a couple more toads but the main species were Palmate Newts Lissotriton helviticus of which I transfered about 40 off the road. 2 Common Frogs Rana temporaria made up a trio of amphibians.

 Male Common Toad © Carl Corbidge
 Male Palmate Newt © Carl Corbidge
 Female Palmate Newt © Carl Corbidge
 Part of the nights tally © Carl Corbidge
 Above and Below Common Frog © Carl Corbidge

Well it looks like the weather has turned again, which won't affect the amphibians too much, common frogs have already started spawning so there is no way back for them now. However the reptiles will have to ride out the weather until it improves again. Yesterday and Thursday there were a couple of windows of opportunity. I managed to get out Thursday afternoon, expecting adders I only saw 5 Viviparous Lizards, I think I may have been too late in the afternoon for snakes,  plus a big black cloud seemed to be following me around putting basking sites in the shade. Yesterday afternoon there was a brief respite in the weather and I managed 4 adders including a very large battle scarred male.

 Female Viviparous Lizard © Carl Corbidge
 Male Viviparous Lizard © Carl Corbidge
 Male Adder A © Carl Corbidge
 Male Adders B and C © Carl Corbidge
 Male Adder B © Carl Corbidge
Male Adder D © Carl Corbidge

Saturday, 25 February 2012

First Male Adder of The Season

Today I met up with Matt Wilson to have a look for the first Adders of the year (although Matt had 2 yesterday). The weather forecast was poor and on arrival it was cloudy with a cool breeze. We had a quick look without success and so decided to have a look for some Roe Deer Matt had seen yesterday. No Roe Deer, but we flushed up 2 Woodcock Scolopax rusticola and saw 5 Crossbills Loxia curvirostra. After a couple of hours the sun came out briefly and along with it one brave male adder Vipera berus. As quick as the sun came out it went back in and that was it for the day.

Crossbill © Carl Corbidge
 Above and Below Male Adder © Carl Corbidge

Back to my side of the Pennines today and with a sunny start to the day I was at one of my Adder sites at 10am ish. I quickly found 2 including a regular blue male which scarpered as soon as my shadow crossed him, (but he was back out 10 mins later) another male was tucked well in. More surprising was a confiding male Viviparous Lizard Zootoca vivipara, in the same spot as a confiding male from last year. I found a further 3 male adders, the clouds then dropped and the temperature dropped considerably and the snakes gradually retired back into their hiding places.

 Viviparous Lizard  © Carl Corbidge
 Male no 1  © Carl Corbidge
  Male no 2  © Carl Corbidge
 Male no 3  © Carl Corbidge

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Adders Should Be Stirring Soon

The recent cold spell has probably put the emergence of Adders back a couple of weeks, but hopefully I will see one before the end of February. It will be interesting to see if Matt Wilson's Adders (a little further north) are out at the same time as the ones around my neck of the woods. I've also got a new site in South Yorkshire to have a look it (fingers crossed).
In the meantime i've been photographing birds at a feeding station, all pretty common ones but I was pleased to get some decent pics of a Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major, I also got a record shot of a Bank Vole Clethrionomys glareolus.

Black Headed Gull © Carl Corbidge
Blue Tit © Carl Corbidge
Chaffinch © Carl Corbidge
Coal Tit © Carl Corbidge
Bank Vole © Carl Corbidge
Great Tit © Carl Corbidge
Great Spotted Woodpecker Female © Carl Corbidge
Moorhen © Carl Corbidge
Reed Bunting Male © Carl Corbidge
Reed Bunting Female © Carl Corbidge
Robin © Carl Corbidge
Yellowhammer Male © Carl Corbidge
Yellowhammer Female © Carl Corbidge
 Male Crossbill © Carl Corbidge

The Buzzard below was hovering which is a feature of Rough Legged Buzzard but not entirelt sure if it is or not.