Monday, 31 March 2014

Adder Numbers Build

As we approach April female adders start to link up with males but there always seems to be a disproportionate number of males to female at my sites. Anyway a female was in close association with a large male and I managed to get my first photos of Common Lizard this year.


 female above males below


 female adder

male and female adder

 male adders



 male and female crossbill

 little grebe
 little owl


2 barred crossbill

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A March Hotchbotch Of Species.

After My trip to Cyprus I've been out trying to see/photograph various wildlife. Adder Vipera berus counts have been a bit frustrating with a maximum of 15 over the weekend 15th -16th but it got too warm on the Sunday and it was all over by 11am, whereas on the Saturday when Matt came over the weather didn't look that promising but picked up in the afternoon and we scraped together 12 including a big male (an old friend) with a stumpy tail. I then went to try and get better photos of the Mountain Hares Lepus timidus because previously the weather hasn't been great when I got on to the top of the peaks. My pair of Little Owls Athene noctua are back in situ, Curlew Numenius arquata  and Lapwing Vanellus vanellus are back on their breeding grounds, and a surprise were 7 Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus on Strines Reservoir.

Male Adders


 
Common Frog
Curlew
Lapwing
Mountain Hares

 
Whooper Swans

For the whole of last week I was on a course with work that took place in Edinburgh. I had heard of a place on my drive up that was good for Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris. Anyway I saw 2 but the light was poor so only got a couple of decent shots. Edinburgh as well as being a very nice city, has some great wildlife within a short distance. I didn't get much free time but managed to get to the coast near Musselburgh where I saw lots of sea ducks (although generally distant). I then stayed a extra night to try and get better photos of the squirrels (which I did) I also found my first female adder of the year and my first ever in County Durham.

 Female Adder
 Long Tailed Duck

 Mute Swan
 Red Breasted Merganser
 Tufted Duck
 Velvet Scoter and with LT Duck below



Saturday, 8 March 2014

Cyprus 2014 Lizards and Birds

Having not been on a foreign trip last year I wanted to go somewhere warm during February half term. Cyprus seemed to fit the bill with a chance of some nice reptiles and if it wasn't warm enough I could do some birding. A cheap Easyjet flight at £115 cheap car hire £60 and a nice apartment in Paphos all was set. My daughter Sasha also came along now aged 15 she likes to sleep a lot, lounge around, make my wallet lighter etc so I let her bring a friend, thereby releasing me to do some field work. At the weeks end I had seen 11 herps (3 lifers) and 47 birds (8 lifers).

All Photos © Carl Corbidge

We arrived at 2pm on the 23rd February and the weather was nice and warm at about 20 Celsius. So I quickly went out with a quick walk around The Tomb of The Kings where I saw a few Starred Agamas Laudakia stellio cypriaca and flipped an Ocellated Skink Chalcides ocellatus. There were also a few small birds flitting around, including Crested Lark, Galerida cristata, Fan Tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis, Sardinian Warbler Slyvia melanocephala Kestrel Falco tinnuculus and lots of Stonechat Saxicola torquata.

 Crested Lark
 Female Kestrel
 Ocellated Skink
 Male Stonechat

Monday 24th February
This turned out to be the best weather of the holiday at about 21 celcius. I started the day with some birding and had some success seeing lots of Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis, Serin Serinus serinus, Long Legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus, Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus and 4 lovely Spur Winged Lapwings Vanellus spinosus, as the morning warmed up I saw a few Troodos Lizards Phoenicolacerta troodica, a Striped Skink Trachyleis vittata and several Agamas. Then after a nice start to the morning it was spoilt when I saw a male Kestrel stuck to a fence with glue on its tail and wings. It was still alive so I removed it, I realised I would have to return to the apartment to try and clean it up. Gradually with warm water and soap I got most of the glue out gave it some sugared water and ham and left it to dry out, It seemed ok so I released it and I think I saw it again later in the week flying complete with scraggy primaries. This illegal method of trapping birds is practiced in Cyprus by morons.

 Mantis Spp
 Spanish Sparrow
 Spur Winged Lapwing


 Striped Skink
 White Wagtail
 Troodos Lizard



In the afternoon I dropped the girls off at the beach and then walked along the headland. Here I saw a couple of Snake Eyed Lizards Ophisops elegans schlueteri a Juvenile Fringe Toed Lizard Acanthodactylus schreiberi another Ocellated Skink and a few Agamas. Birds included Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria and 3 Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultia one of which was going into summer plumage. Later my ears must have tuned in because I heard some Treefrogs Hyla savignyi near the apartment and found a few breeding in unkempt swimming pools.

 Agama

 Golden Plover
 Greater Sandplover


 Male Kestrel
 Ocellated Skink
 Pafos Lighthouse
 Snake Eyed Lizard

 Treefrog




Tuesday 25th

My Birthday so obviously the worst weather of the week with thunder and lightening in the night and torrential downpours on and off all day, so I went for a run along the coast and didn't see much wildlife at all.

Wednesday 26th

Today started with a little rain and was pretty much cloudy all day but brightening up late on. Therefore I started the day with some birding and finished with some herping. I added a new species of Wheatear to my life list Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina. Lots of larks and pipits were seen along with finches. Later I flipped a Kotchy's Gecko Cryptopodian kotschyi.

 Agama
 Chiffchaff
 Fan Tailed Warbler
 Isabelline Wheatear


 Red Throated Pipt
 Kotchy's Gecko

 Skylark
 Snake Eyed Lizard

 
Wednesday 27th Feb
 
The weather started to pick up a bit but pretty much more of the same. I found 4 species of lizard in our apartment garden!
 ?Armenian Gull
 Black Redstart
 Corn Bunting
 Fringe toed Lizard



 Kotchy's Gecko


 Red Throated Pipit
 Treefrog
 Troodos Lizard
 

 
 Thursday 28th
 
In the morning I tried to get some better photos of some birds I had seen. I managed to get a record shot of Black Francolin and some better photos of Striped Skink.
 
 Black Francolin


 Black Redstart Female
 Cattle Egret
 Chukar Partridge
 Male Serin

 Striped Skink

 Spur Winged Lapwing
 Female Serin
 
Friday 28th
 
Today was supposed to be warm so I assigned it for a determined look for a Blunt Nosed Viper. In the event it wasn't that hot only 16 C. I did however see the best bird of the trip a Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria at fairly close range. I also found a Green Toad Bufo viridis, it was stuck in mud from all the rain with just its eyes showing and looked very much alive, but unfortunately it wasn't I think it must have suffocated because its nostrils were blocked and its body covered in mud
 
 Avakas Gorge

 
Wallcreeper
 




 
Saturday 1st March
Again it wasn't especially warm up to about 17C but I finally saw a snake and caught it (100% catch rate) a nice Black Whip Snake Dolicophis jugularis cypriacas and for people who know this species they are one of the fastest European snakes. Unlike the ones we saw in Symi these are really black including the belly. I also added Levantine Water Frog Rana bedriague, these were quite different from other water frogs I've seen and I ticked off the endemic Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax.
 









 
SPECIES SEEN
 
Reptiles and Amphibians
(Lemon Yellow) Treefrog (Lifer)
Levantine Water Frog
Green Toad (dead in mud)
Kotchy's Gecko
Starred Agama
Troodos Lizard (Lifer)
Snake Eyed Lizard
Fringe Toed Lizard (Lifer)
Ocellated Skink
Striped Skink
Black Whip Snake
 
Birds
Cormorant
Little Egret
Cattle Egret
Mallard
Long Legged Buzzard
Kestrel
Chukar Partridge (Lifer)
Black Francolin (Lifer)
Spur Winged Lapwing (Lifer)
Greater Sandplover (Lifer)
Common Sandpiper
Dunlin
Armenian Gull (Lifer)
Woodpigeon
Collared Dove
Scops Owl
Skylark
Barn Swallow
Meadow Pipit
Red Throated Pipit
White Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Robin
Black Redstart
Northern Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear (Lifer)
Stonechat
Songthrush
Blackcap
Sardinian Warbler
Cyprus Warbler (Lifer)
Fan Tailed Warbler
Chiffchaff
Cettis Warbler
Great Tit
Wallcreeper (Lifer)
Magpie
Jackdaw
Hooded crow
House Sparrow
Spanish Sparrow
Chaffinch
Linnet
Greenfinch
Serin
Goldfinch
Corn Bunting