S was for a sunny Sunday saunter and this superb surprise Slow-worm.
11 Monday Apr 2022
S was for a sunny Sunday saunter and this superb surprise Slow-worm.
11 Thursday Apr 2019
Posted 365DaysWildin2019, nature, reptilesin
#365DaysWild, Anguis fragilis, British reptiles, Cosmeston, Cosmeston Lakes Country Park, refugia, slow-worm
I was walking with my friend Sharon around Cosmeston today when we spied a refugia and couldn’t resist having a look underneath. This is what we found … but what is going on?
These are Slow-worms (Anguis fragilis), and there look to be two of them intertwined. We assumed they were mating but I’ve been reading that they don’t usually mate until May, and that males and females differ in colour and appearance – these appear to be two females. And what’s with the ants? Are they trying to attack the Slow-worms, irritate them so that they move away?
Answers on a postcard … or in the comments below. Thanks, and if/when I find out more, I’ll update this post.
p.s. I’ve been told by a friend that if one Slow-worm finds a nice warm place to bask, others will join it – so just friends enjoying the warmth together, I think. And the ants don’t like them ’cause the Slow-worms will eat their pupae but the ants can’t harm the Slow-worms.
03 Monday Jul 2017
Posted 'Dedicated Naturalist' Project, nature, parks, reptiles, walksin
adder, British reptiles, grass snake, Mary Gillham Archive Project, Parc Slip Nature Reserve, reptile ramble, reptile refugia, slow-worm, volunteering
If you’ve been following my ‘wild’ life for a while, you’ll remember that, in August last year, I went on a reptile ramble at the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales’s Parc Slip Nature Reserve. Well, last Wednesday our team of trusty Mary Gillham Archives Project staff and volunteers went for another ramble, partly because we enjoyed the last one so much and partly as a way of farewelling the lovely Natalie, a university student who’s been working with us since last September. Though tinged with sadness at saying goodbye to Nat, we had an exciting ramble.
I thought perhaps the persistent drizzle might mean we wouldn’t see many reptiles but I was wrong. In fact, the reverse might actually have been true – the rain may well have encouraged the beasties to stay put under their refugia – except, that is, for one large adder, which I almost stepped on, as it was lying in the grass close to one of the shelters. So, though we didn’t see any lizards this time, we saw more adders, grass snakes and slow-worms than last year. Oh, and the bird’s-nest-shaped dried-grass vole nests under some of the refugia were really cute too.
25 Sunday Jun 2017
Posted animals, birds, insects, nature, trees, walks, wildflowersin
birding, birdwatching, Bog pimpernel, Foxgloves, Glamorgan Bird Club, Grey wagtail, Lliw Reservoirs, Red kite, slow-worm, Tormentil, Victorian dam, Victorian ironwork, Whitethroat
I celebrated the solstice with an outing with my Glamorgan Bird Club buddies to Lliw Reservoirs north of Swansea or, perhaps that should read, I sweated through the solstice – it was one of the hottest days of the year and the middle of a mini heatwave. Still, you know what they say about mad dogs and Englishmen (and Welshmen and a Kiwi) …
It’s a superb location. The two reservoirs were built in the second half of the 19th century, and still supply water to communities throughout south Wales. We only walked up one side of both reservoirs, through broadleaf woodland and then out onto open areas of grass and scrub and moorland, but there’s an 8-mile circular walk, which would be brilliant in cooler weather and includes large open commons of heath moorland on the hilltops.
We heard more small birds than we saw (but that’s helping me learn their songs); buzzards and magnificent red kites were soaring overhead; we heard then saw the elusive grasshopper warbler in flight; dragonflies and damsels and the odd butterfly flitted about; and there were lots of lovely wildflowers (my particular favourites were the foxgloves, tormentil and bog pimpernel). Oh and, most importantly, the locals were friendly and the cafe serves delicious ice cream!
17 Saturday Jun 2017
One of this week’s wildlife highlights happened last Tuesday evening …
I had been in the office volunteering all day and had been too lazy (and the weather had been too hot) to walk home, so I had an early tea then went out for a 90-minute walk. And I am SO glad I did because …
I was walking down an old railway line that’s now a foot- and cycle path when I spotted a cat intently watching something in the long grass at the edge of the path. It was tapping then jumping back, tapping then jumping back. As I approached, the cat slunk off, not pleased it had been interrupted but I’m so glad I scared it off because …
What I found in the grass was a Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis) – a young one, I think, from the colour. I only had my point-and-click camera so couldn’t get very good photos and, of course, it wouldn’t stay still. It obviously wanted to escape the cat’s attention so decided to slither across the path but it was having trouble with the asphalt and wasn’t making any headway so …
I picked it up and carried it across to the other side and let it go in the long grass on that side. Good deed done and such a special moment!
24 Monday Apr 2017
Barry, Crab spider, Dock bug, Garden snails, Glamorgan Botany Group, Grene shieldbug, hoverflies, insects, ladybirds, Orange-tip butterfly, slow-worm
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I spent a wonderful day on Saturday exploring and examining some of the town of Barry’s wilder green spaces with members of the Glamorgan Botany Group. But, of course, you can’t spend a whole day looking at plants without also seeing an awful lot of the critters that live on those plants and I admit to being a trifle distracted at times … by a sunshine-yellow Crab spider, by fluttering butterflies and buzzing hoverflies, by plentiful dock and shield bugs, by the sad sight of a dead Slow-worm. Some of the lovely old stone houses and churches we passed were pretty cool too!
18 Thursday Aug 2016
Posted 'Dedicated Naturalist' Project, nature, reptilesin
adder, British reptiles, Common lizard, grass snake, Mary Gillham Archive Project, Parc Slip, Parc Slip Nature Reserve, slow-worm, volunteering, Wildlife Trust, Wildlife Trust for South & West Wales, WTSWW
Partly as a training exercise in wildlife identification, partly as a reward for all our hard work to date, and partly as a fun way for our team to get together, our Mary Gillham Archive Project volunteers were treated to a reptile ramble at Parc Slip Nature Reserve yesterday. And it was fantastic!
Led by friendly and knowledgeable Wildlife Trust officer Lorna, we explored the research and conservation areas where members of the public don’t normally get to wander. With the excitement palpable and a huge sense of anticipation from us onlookers, Lorna used her trusty snake stick to lift up the reptile refugia (sheets of corrugated iron or heavy plastic under which the reptiles frequently shelter) to see what we could find. Though her initial efforts proved unsuccessful, we did eventually get lucky and were very excited to see one very small, young Common lizard (which scuttled away far too quickly for a photo so my lizard photo here is from another day), a Grass snake (which also slithered away far too quickly to photograph), an Adder and 4 Slow-worms. Success! And a great day out, thanks to the conservation efforts of the wonderful folks who work and volunteer at the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales.
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