Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Spring Migrants and Hares

Spring Migration is in full swing and many of the resident birds are well into there breeding season. I've seen quite a few Ring Ouzels on the moors and a first were 3 Woodcock displaying on the moor at first I thought they must be Snipe until I got a good look at them, they were chasing each other and every so often springing into the air, but frustratingly I couldn't get any decent photos. Having not seen any Brown Hares for a while, over the last week I have seen quite a few, with one particularly confiding.

 Brown Hare

 Female Lapwing Incubating
 Male Lapwing

 Mountain Hare Going Into Summer coat
 Female Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher
 Ring Ouzel

 Juvenile Stonechat
 Tree Pipit


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Northern Counties Adder Special

Together with Lancastrian stalwart Matt Wilson we had an extended weekend going to several new spots to look for adders and any other wildlife of interest. We had 5 spots in mind, 1 in Derbyshire, 1 in South Yorkshire, 1 in North Lincolnshire and 2 in Lancashire. 2 of these are our regular local adder spots and the other 3 we hadn't been to before. In the event we found adders in four of the 5. With 11 or 12 in Derbyshire, 3 in South Yorkshire, 12 in Lancs and failed in Lincs probably because it was too warm. Along the way we had a few Common Lizards and a single skinny Grass Snake. A nocturnal visit to some small ponds revealed the most G C Newts I have seen there (30+) and interestingly ones in a murky clay bottomed pond were an unusual orange colour but ones 20 yards away in a weedy pond were normal. I don't know if they have a colour change ability like some other amphibians do but that's the only explanation I can think of. At one site we flushed a fox, for those folk who like foxes you might want to check (if you pay membership to any of the big conservation bodies) their policy on foxes as you might be surprised how many cull foxes, that's one of the reasons I'm not a member of any. How can they lecture other people for killing wildlife, when morally they are doing exactly the same thing and often the rationale is the same?. In my opinion we need more foxes to cull the plague of pheasants that seem to be everywhere at the minute (a non native species that has a negative impact on native reptiles) (Rant Over).

 First 3 Yorkshire males

 Next 3 Derbyshire males with 3 together and the first a nice freshly shed bluey

 Lancashire female
 Lancashire Males
 Lancashire  female and below Lancs pair
video of courtship

 Common Frog taddies
 Unusual G C Newts

 A more normal coloured Male
Grass Snake in need of a meal