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mikebrown
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Posted: 07 Feb 2006 Topic: Reptiles of south-west Spain



Looks like a Horseshoe Whip Snake to me. I've seen a few in Southern Spain.

What else did you manage to see in the area?




Mike Brown
Merseyside ARG
mikebrown
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Posted: 12 Feb 2006 Topic: 2006 is comino to life!



Suddenly, lots of Common Frog activity in and around my Garden Pond in Liverpool today - about 15-20 individuals have emerged and are very actively croaking, chasing one another, mating, etc.

By no means an early date in Merseyside, but what is unusual is the sudden dramatic change from no activity up to last night to such a hive of activity. No doubt due to the sudden change in the weather from prolonged cold to a much milder day (9 C.) of persistent rain.

Mike Brown




Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 12 Feb 2006 Topic: Rana T. Movements 2006 - So far....



Just to repeat the note I've put under Reporting, There has been a very sudden appearance of about 15 - 20 Common Frogs in and around my garden pond today, in Liverpool, with plenty of croaking, chasing and pairing. This is no doubt due to the abrubt change in the weather, from a prolonged spell of relatively cold and dry, to mild and wet all day.

It is quite normal for the frogs to start breeding in early February here, but it is usually a fairly spasmodic affair in the early weeks.

Mike Brown




Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 07 Feb 2007 Topic: Found a lizard



Hi Paul,

Its best to gently cover the lizard with some dry material like fine bark chips or wood chippings about an inch thick and place the tank in a cool but frost-free place like a shed. It won't feed, but will sleep, just 'ticking over' until early Spring (early March). Watch for it waking up then, when it could be released in a suitable place on a nice sunny and reasonably warm day.

It should have been hibernating at present, but could have been disturbed, or tempted out by the sun. Where in the country do you live?

Cheers,

Mike 




Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 07 Feb 2007 Topic: Found a lizard



I would certainly leave him in the tank in the shed until the weather warms up outside - even down there I would think not much likelihood of good enough weather for lizards to be active for long until early March. He may well become active in the tank when it is warm enough. Then he should start to feed and spiders and small insects are their favourite food, not slugs or snails. Best to keep a small shallow saucer of water in the tank, but the substrate should not be too moist.

I would release him away from the garden, if you've got hens and cats. A dry, sunny slope with scattered shrubs would be ideal. I'm sure you've got local populations of Common Lizards in that area.

Cheers,

Mike




Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 10 Feb 2007 Topic: Wall Lizard distribution in the UK



I know the Wall Lizards in some of the colonies resemble Italian animals, and some are documented releases, but what proof is there that the other colonies, eg Portland, which I have seen myself, are not relict populations of native animals?

Cheers,

Mike




Mike Brown
Merseyside ARG
mikebrown
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Posted: 15 Mar 2007 Topic: NARRS blog



The Merseyside Training Day has been altered to the Sunday, April 22.

Start time is 10.30 am.

Cheers,

Mike Brown




Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 30 Jun 2005 Topic: Reptiles in South Bucks



Although I now live in Merseyside, I am originally from South Buckinghamshire. When I was a kid (in the late 1960's and early 1970's) reptiles such as Grass snakes, adders, slow-worms and Common Lizards dould be found quite frequently at various localities (I'm not sure if I should name specific sites here.) Now, on the occasions I visit my original haunts, although some habitat has disappeared completely or changed from heathland to total tree cover, others still do not appear to contain reptiles, certainly not snakes, even where some suitable habitat remains.

I would be very interested to hear from anyone now living in the South Bucks area as to what they find there now. It appears to me that there has been an enormous reduction in reptiles, especially snakes, in what was 30 odd years ago a very productive area for them.

mikebrown38533.8251157407


Mike Brown
Merseyside ARG
mikebrown
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Posted: 30 Jun 2005 Topic: Reptiles in south Bucks



I've already accidentally put this message under slow-worms, but as a keen herpetologist who previously lived in South Buckinghamshire, I would be very interested to hear from anyone who now lives in that area, as it seems to me that there has been an alarming decline in snakes especially since I was a kid there in the late 60's/early 70's, when grass snakes, adders, slow-worms and Common Lizards could be found commonly at a number of sites (not sure if I should say where). On the occasions I return nowadays, all I can find is the odd common Lizard or Slow-worm. I notice that there has been a serious loss of heathland habitat, not only because of building and road construction , but also because a lot of former heathland has been allowed to change to woodland, especially the local Commons.

I know this has occured elsewhere as well, but surely not on this scale?

 

mikebrown38533.8380671296


Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 02 Jul 2005 Topic: Natterjacks at Formby



I was out on the dunes at Formby, Merseyside, a week ago, and every dune slack pool appeared to have dried up. Surely a bad year for the Natterjacks, as I doubt if many could have metamorphosed in time? mikebrown38535.7950115741


Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 03 Jul 2005 Topic: Slow Worms in Lancashire



About three years ago I found a Slow-worm basking beside a path in the Bowland area of North Lancs (can supply site details on request) and a friend of mine found about 10 in the same area last year under rocks. I am going to check the site out again soon, but has anyone else recorded Slow Worms in this area? (I know they occur slightly further North in Lancashire, in limestone area, but have not heard of any other records for the Bowland area.)


Mike Brown
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Posted: 11 Jul 2005 Topic: Slow Worms in Lancashire



Found 5 Slow-worms at this site last Wednesday (6/07/05), 2 basking half-hidden in heather and three under rocks. two were full adults, rest young. Interesting thing was all five had complete tails. I think there could be a lot more in the area, but it backs onto a fenced off sheep field with suitable bushes and stone piles.mikebrown38544.7805324074


Mike Brown
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Posted: 03 Aug 2005 Topic: Where to look in Dorset?



Like Rob, I was surprised to learn that a licence is required even to watch Sand Lizards and Smooth Snakes. So how does someone go about applying for a licence ? I am a BHS member and have been for a long time.

Thanks,

Mike

 




Mike Brown
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Posted: 02 Dec 2005 Topic: Adders in South Bucks



On a recent visit to a certain Common in South Bucks, now a local Nature Reserve, I noticed information boards indicating the presence of adders. I knew this site well when I lived in the area in the 1970's, and adders were frequent there then, but subsequently declined dramatically due to bad habitat management and fires. According to Tony Phelps they became extinct there more recently. Have they susequently been re-introduced?

Mike Brown




Mike Brown
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Posted: 18 Dec 2005 Topic: Grass Snake in December



 A friend of mine has shown me video film of a freshly dead (or possibly shamming dead) 2 foot+ Grass Snake he found in Cheshire in early December this year. It did not appear to be damaged in any way, and was lying on the grass close to a Sewage Works.  Has anyone else found a Grass Snake as late in the year as this?

I've sent the location and details to the County Recorder.

Mike Brown

 

 




Mike Brown
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Posted: 11 Jan 2006 Topic: Reptiles in South Bucks



Hi Andy!

At last someone has responded to the above message!

The area I mostly knew was around Gerrards Cross, where there was some heathland and plenty of Grass Snakes, Slow-Worms and Common Lizards. Adders used to occur at several sites south of there.

Where do you live?

Cheers,

Mike Brown




Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 11 Jan 2006 Topic: Herps in bak garden.



Andy,

I have replied to you on the 'Slow-Worm' thread which i had inadvertently put the original message on, but is it the railway line which runs from London to High Wycombe which you are referring to?

I knew the railway banks well around Gerrards Cross 30 odd years ago, and there were lots of Common Lizards and Slow-Worms then, and a few Grass Snakes as well. Not surprisingly, with the railway running East-West, most of the reptiles were on the sunny South-facing side!

Cheers,

Mike Brown




Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 18 Jan 2006 Topic: Skinks in Cyprus



Dan,

Ocellated skinks do occur in Cyprus - I saw a few in the sandy areas close to Akrotiri on a visit there in April, about 20 years ago.

There is also another skink of similar size which is more common, at least it basks more. I think the scientific name is Mabuya aurata. it has no English name as far as I know, is plainer on the back, and the basic colour is brown.

Also the much smaller Snake-eyed Skink can be found under logs, etc.

I don't know of any field guides specifically on Cyprus, but Dave Bird might be able to help there?

Cheers,

Mike Brown




Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 30 Jan 2006 Topic: Reptiles of south-west Spain



I'm visiting the Costa del Sol area, probably west of gibraltar as well, for six days towards the end of March (partly a bird-watching trip, but will also be looking for Reptiles and Amphibia.

Do you know of any sources of info. other than what you've mentioned for herptiles in the area? I can't get onto most of the andalucian website you mention or the bothrops one.

Many Thanks for any help you can give me.

Mike Brown




Mike Brown
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mikebrown
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Posted: 20 Feb 2006 Topic: Rana T. Movements 2006 - So far....



Hi, Mark,

I actually come from very close to your area (in South Bucks), and I do notice a distinct difference in Winter temperatures up here in Merseyside, especially night temperatures. severe frosts are a rarity here, with even clear nights like at present only having min. temps of about -1C. I think that is what makes Common Frog activity much earlier up here.

 Activity has certainly continued over the weekend in brilliant sunny weather. I believe it has been cold and wet where you live!

When I lived down there I used to find Slow-worms and Common Lizards out from late February though, if the weather was sunny then.

Cheers,

Mike Brown

Cheers,

Mike Brown




Mike Brown
Merseyside ARG

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