Monday, 26 March 2012

Owls Slow Worms and Newts

On Friday afternoon Matt Wilson came over from Lancs for a spot of herping with a bit of birding thrown in. First stop was a pair of Peregrines Falco peregrinus on a city church, we had very good views of both birds and in fact saw the pair mating. The male flew off and 2 minutes later came back with a starling which the female didn't seem too impressed with. After this I took Matt to a spot where i've been watching a pair of Little Owls Athene noctua and sure enough one was in situ. After dark we went to 3 newt ponds, in the first we had about 6 Smooth Newts Lissotriton vulgaris, driving to the second we had a Badger Meles meles running in front of the car. At the second and third ponds a total of 5 Smooth Newts and 3 Great Crested Newts Triturus cristatus along with a few Common Frog Rana temporaria and Common Toad Bufo bufo. There were also a lot of dead frogs in the last pond probably having been caught pot and trapped under ice.

 Peregrine Falcon © Carl Corbidge
 Peregrine Falcon Female © Carl Corbidge
 Common Toad © Carl Corbidge
 Great Crested Newt (in situ) © Carl Corbidge
Smooth Newt © Carl Corbidge

We woke to fog Saturday Morning that didn't clear until gone dinner time. We checked a potential new adder site but only had a Viviparous Lizard. We then headed over to a Slow Worm Anguis fragilis site. I don't normally see these up in the north until the first week of April but with the warm weather we found a male and a female, my earliest date so far. After this I thought we would try a couple of sites where there are Grass Snake Natrix natrix as well as Slow Worms however no further herps were found. En-route we saw a few Buzzards Buteo buteo and several Kestrels Falco tinnunculus along with some other avian sitings..

Matt and Slow Worm © Carl Corbidge
 Female Slow Worm © Carl Corbidge
 Male Kestrel © Carl Corbidge
 Curlew © Carl Corbidge

Matt went home Saturday evening. Sunday evening I went out a couple of miles up the road to try and photograph Brown Hares Lepus  europaeus, I have recently seen up to 6 but they're easily spooked and bolt off at the first sign of trouble. However I have managed a few shots. The Little Owls were in residence and I even managed to photograph them together (Monday evening). An Oystercatcher Haematopus ostraegus was a surprise in fields along with Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and Curlews Numenius aquata. However the best was yet to come heading back home I spotted an owl flying, I thought great a short eared owl but as it landed on a wall even better a Long Eared Owl Asio otus and the first one i have seen flying in daylight.

 Above and Below Brown Hare © Carl Corbidge

 Above 3 photos Little Owl © Carl Corbidge

 Above 3 photos Long Eared Owl  © Carl Corbidge
Oystercatcher  © Carl Corbidge

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