Friday 22 March 2024

I 'Adder' Good Day.

 With the days getting longer, and warmer, I wanted to get to Abbotts Wood, just on the very slight chance of finding another Large Tortoiseshell. Since 2021 I have found 2 in this large woodland. Of course, it is all down to luck with this species, especially in such a large woodland.

Unfortunately, when I arrived I found that the car park was temporarily closed, and although a couple of the roadside lay-bys were vacant, the weather over the past few weeks had left them full of potholes, mud and water and I thought better of it, so onward to another woodland where Large Tortoiseshells had also been seen in recent years.

Needless to say, I didn't see any Large Tortoiseshells, but with it being the warmest day of the year so far, there were lots of butterflies along the rides, mainly Peacock and Brimstone with a few Comma too. My first sighting of interest though was as I was walking along the edge of the lake, when I spotted a young Grass Snake curled up taking advantage of the sunshine. Fortunately I spotted it before it saw me, and I was able to get a few photos of it as it lay there occasionally flicking out it's forked tongue.

Grass Snake.

After taking a few shots with the longer lens, I tried to get a bit nearer with the macro lens, but that was a step too much and it slithered very quickly away.

Moving away from the lake I saw my first Dark-edged Bee-flies of the year. Then, in a boggy area I found several really stunning Bog Beacon fungi. I have seen these before at this site, but have never managed to get any decent pictures as it's often in a darkish area. 

Bog Beacon.

Just after seeing these I bumped into Graham, a friend that had helped me enormously last winter with clearing scrub on my patch. The rest of the time at the wood we walked together looking for other things of interest. A Comma showed very well at one spot, and then we came across a large pile of dead Bracken that I thought may have snakes basking in the sun on it. There were no snakes, but several Common Lizards were basking there.

Common Lizard.

As we moved away from the Bracken pile I suddenly spotted a beautiful male Adder that was in a tiny clearing. It was far enough into the foliage that we could observe it and photograph it with the telephoto lenses without disturbing it. 

Male Adder.

After enjoying that beauty, we moved a little further along the bushes when I spotted a very large melanistic Adder. This was almost certainly a female, being much larger and broader. Whilst we were watching her she moved several times, and once again we were both able to get some pleasing photos of her. With the telephoto again, and a bit of a crop on the photos a lovely close up was possible. We were really pleased too, to be able to walk away from her with her still basking in the sunshine.

Melanistic Adder.

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