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will
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Posted: 14 Mar 2009 Topic: Flash photography



Here's a photo I dug out from a year or two ago - again no flash used - the 'eye sparkle' provided courtesy of sunlight:

 


will
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Posted: 17 Sep 2007 Topic: The Camden Creature



Another snake from last weekend - basking at the base of a tree, measured approx 130cm when I put my camera case beside it.
Cheers, Will



will
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Posted: 27 Feb 2007 Topic: Wall Lizard distribution in the UK



Hello.   I was looking at this thread and saw that JC had mentioned me earlier on, so I thought I'd chip in, for what it's worth, about the Dorset walls..

Originally I had suspected (and perhaps hoped) that the Portland walls might be the reptilian equivalent of the pool frog; ie a native which was overlooked because of the other known introductions of walls elsewhere of predominantly southern European origin.   After a few visits to ascertain their distribution on Portland I'm not at all sure this is the case.   Although they are northern European in appearance, they do appear fairly restricted to a ribbon along the south east of Portland, and absent from other equally suitable areas (at the moment, at least).   This suggests a fairly recent origin.   I had wondered whether there was any mileage in the idea of accidental introduction as a result of naval trade between Portland and northern France last century, but again, the limited distribution of the walls seems to suggest a much more recent origin.  

What I'd like to know is who is putting all these walls into odd places in East Dorset ?!  One of the clifftop sites mentioned in previous posts on the south coast of Purbeck is about 2 miles from the nearest village and I would love to know why someone could be bothered to walk so far to this quarry and tip in some walls in the Victorian manner of 'turning out' animals to see if they could make a go of it, particularly when this has been illegal and subject to unlimited fine (in theory, at least) for twenty six years.   I also agree that introduction of wall lizards into areas where sand lizards are hanging on seems irresponsible on the part of anyone who claims to be a genuine herpetologist..

I'd be interested to hear whether anyone knows if the various Dorset wall lizard populations are a consequence of one person's activities or a group of people - any thoughts ?

Cheers

Will




will
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Posted: 14 Mar 2007 Topic: collar patterns and recognition



Just a quick thought -

has anyone used collar / neck patterns to ID individual grass snakes in the same way that the adder 'V' or 'H' has been used in population studies ?   Since colour and pattern of the 'yellow' collar and the black margin vary, could this be used to build up a photo library and to ID snakes subsequently ?

Cheers

Will




will
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Posted: 14 Mar 2007 Topic: collar patterns and recognition



Thanks Gemma - like the bar codes pun !


will
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Posted: 29 Mar 2007 Topic: sign of the times ?



Hello All

This is a question prompted by the discovery of a fresh adder slough yesterday (sadly no sign of the former owner) in Epping Forest - namely, I can't remember seeing a sloughed adder this early in the season before.   Is this unusually early for SE England and has anyone else seen a slough / sloughed animal elsewhere so far this season ?

Cheers

Will



will
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Posted: 02 Apr 2007 Topic: sign of the times ?



Update today from a London site - saw a male shed and then immediately try to mate with a female (as yet unshed) - persistent chap kept up his courtship for over an hour without success.   Guess we're at the start of mating for adders (although grass snakes have been seen in London for several weeks in mating balls / clusters)

Cheers

Will



will
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Posted: 02 Apr 2007 Topic: feeding then breeding ?



Had my best grass snake day for many years - gave up counting when I got to 30 animals at my local site, but I noticed that 3 of them (all males) had clearly been feeding on the local frogs / toads - very big bulges in central part of body, complete with protruding elbow / knee joints.   I had assumed that grass snakes would be like adders, ie strictly no feeding til after breeding, but these males were clearly intent on the former or both activities.   Is this the norm in your experience for grass snakes ? If so, do males and females feed before / during breeding or just males - and if the latter, are these males foresaking breeding for the sake of having a meal instead ?

Cheers

Will



will
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Posted: 03 Apr 2007 Topic: feeding then breeding ?



Hi Jon

Greater London - well known site - and fully protected for once !

Cheers

Will



will
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Posted: 12 Apr 2007 Topic: Unusual GCN..



Hello Brett

I posted a photo of a partially melanistic GCN picture in this very forum (UK Reptiles and Amphibians) under the name 'mynewt' in the strand 'how common are red frogs in England ?' (Go back about 6-7 months, I think)

This individual - also a male - was from a large garden pond that was lost to a housing development in Enfield, London in 1994.   Sorry the photo's not up to the quality of yours !

Cheers

Will



will
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Posted: 15 Apr 2007 Topic: No Grass Snakes!!!



I'd echo John Newton's comments re adders getting hard to find - one site of mine has gone down from 25-30 post-emergence to 4-5 adults last week, though I'm still finding grass snakes; I also suspect dry warm weather - reckon some adders have gone from hibernation to aestivation ?!  I'd be interested to see what happens when / if it rains in the south ..

Will




will
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Posted: 17 Apr 2007 Topic: Spooky in Surrey



Hi All

If you go to the No Grass Snakes thread under Grass Snake you can see a few comments there re an apparent lack of grass snakes and also adders - I'm finding the latter very hard to spot at some usually reliable sites in S England

Cheers

Will



will
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Posted: 24 Apr 2007 Topic: Wall Lizard distribution in the UK



Very interesting - I wonder if anyone plans to do the same analysis for other populations, eg Isle of Wight and especially the 'all brown Northern Europe-type' Isle of Portland animals.   How easy/ cheap is it to DNA sequence lizard skin / bits of tail ?

Will




will
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Posted: 28 Apr 2007 Topic: Is this a crestie?



Hello Martin

I'd say yes, given the strongly contrasting black stripes on yellow background; if you see any larger larvae 'suspended' in the water column hoovering up the Daphnia etc then this will confirm it.

Will



will
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Posted: 29 Apr 2007 Topic: Is this a crestie?



Definitely a crestie egg from the size of the capsule - nice photo comparison there

Will



will
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Posted: 05 Jun 2007 Topic: changing colour



 

Dorset sand lizards still in full green (like this male) last Friday - 1st June.   Also many females yet to lay, and I saw a couple of pairs of sandies too (photo also attached, I hope - look for the cryptic male's eye !)

Maybe the arctic May weather has slowed things down ?

Cheers, Will




will
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Posted: 05 Jun 2007 Topic: changing colour



Hi Mark

It was late afternoon - round about 5-6pm; last friday was ideal for lizard watching - about 17-19 deg and an easterly breeze - I reckon it's warming up again now, so it may well get harder to see them

Cheers

Will




will
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Posted: 31 Aug 2007 Topic: The Camden Creature



Hello All

Been looking at the snakes over the summer - am hoping to help ZSL with some form of survey work to establish how many / where the snakes are - they're close to various bird enclosures, for example.

Great animals though - I have spent time in France, Spain, Italy etc looking for Aesculapian snakes - ironic that my first wild (OK, feral) ones should be a couple of miles from my work..

Cheers

Will



will
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Posted: 01 Sep 2007 Topic: The Camden Creature



Nice idea Jon - but any survey would have to be with permission of ZSL, at least within their grounds, of course

Here's another one - 1.5m individual - from earlier in the summer

Cheers

Will



will
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Posted: 03 Sep 2007 Topic: The Camden Creature



Hello Wolfgang

The larger snake's size was estimated when I photographed it crossing a paving slab for scale.  The smaller one was about 75cm but nothing to allow a more accurate guesstimate.

Maybe ZSL have more extensive data which could produce a meaningful average ?

Cheers

Will 




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