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Ray999
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Posted: 25 Dec 2006 Topic: Seasons Greetings



Hi all

I would like to reiterate what Tim was saying.It has been great that us novices are able to call upon those so much more educated and experienced than us and would like to say thankyou for all the help I have received this year,I have never before been so impatient for spring to come.

Happy herping.

Ray

 




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 05 May 2006 Topic: Viviparous lizard photographs



Hi there,this is my first time so I am appologising in advance.

My first 28 years were in Torquay before moving to the Fylde Coast in North West England in 1988.I spent a lot of my teenage years observing, catching and keeping common lizards and slow worms before releasing them again to hibernate.

I have always had an interest in herps but this was really rekindled when I read Portlanders account of hundreds of lizards on Portland bill (he/she has got a lot to answer for).So much so that I made a 636 mile round trip the following Saturday.I had a good day but the wife and dog wern,t so impressed.That is some Piece of rock. 

I saw plenty of common lizards but no common wall lizards as best as I could tell from the pictures on this site.

Back on the Fylde Coast I have heard of two sites Where the Common lizard has been seen,and on checking them I have seen them on both,which annoyed the wife even more.Why travel 630 miles to see what is just round the corner.

What I did notice is the lizards seem to be Quite different.On Both sites I saw about half a dozen.The lizards on the first site were similar to the ones on Portland,lovely shades of green or brown.On the second site they seemed to be very dark brown to almost black.I don,t think they were juveniles, they were a good size and a consistant colour all over.As things are with these lovely creatures I have been back twice to check again but have only seen a fleeting glimpse of a black tail.Why is that, you go back on a day when the conditions are pretty much the same as last time but see nothing,so frustrating.

Now that the weather is getting warmer when is the best time of day to see them.

Having now reminded myself of the habitat where they are found I am also checking other potential sites but as yet have not found any more.Does anyone reading this Know how many areas there are on the Fylde.

One thing that did occur to me is how well they keep themselves hidden.When asking people who may play golf or walk their dog regularly on the known sites they will tell you they saw one three years ago, and yet if you look for them they are  right there, under your feet. 

 

 

 




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 06 May 2006 Topic: Viviparous lizard photographs



Hi there,That was a quick reply.

Suzi /Gemma,I am not sure if I am to give exact locations on this site but the first area is in the sand dunes around Fleetwood and the second is in similar habitat around St Annes.I have only just realised they are here.What threw me was they seem to be in quite different areas to where I would have found them in Torquay.In fact when searching areas that I would have previously expected to see them I have not found any.

In Torquay they would have been On the edge of a small copse sunnlng themselves on a log or on a large rock, by the edge of a bramble bush or even on a stone wall,but checking these type of areas up here in on the Fylde I havn,t seen any.They much prefer some dead dry grass in amongst much taller grasses.

Gemma,as you say, in the past I have often seen them sunning themselves on some piece of discarded rubbish and Blackpool seems to have more than it,s fair share, but as yet the ones I have seen don,t seem to be taking advantage.They are obviously too posh,they wouldn,t be seen dead on a plastic otter or what ever it is.

I have been out again today checking What I would have thought would have been a good sight.A mixture of both of the above and beside a railway line, which in previous correspondance are considered to be good corridors for natural collonisation,but alas again I havn,t seen any.Are there schemes where vivs are being introduced to uninhabited sites,I know of another suite which I am sure could sustain a resonable size colony but am sure could not be colonised naturally?.     




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 06 May 2006 Topic: Viviparous lizard photographs



Suzi

Just been talking to John Newton on the same subject.I will try to get some pictures next time I am out but I havn,t done it before.He was asking the same questions and it would be great if I could find some, but looking at the pictures on this site I am pretty sure the ones I have seen are vivi,s.You need to get your brother over here asap, I was surprised how quickly I found them when I started looking. 

 




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 22 May 2006 Topic: Fylde Coast Viviparous



I would first like to congratulate anyone who has put a picture on this site.It has taken me 4 weeks and 3 digi cameras to get this selection of pics and I'm not best pleased with any of them.They were taken on two sites on the Fylde Coast.On one visit to Fleetwood I saw 18 in about an hour,not sure if this is a good amount or not.Of the 18, 14 were youngsters and 4 were adults.The adults had all lost their tails at some point.There are no cats or pheasants in the area but there are Kestrels about.




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 23 May 2006 Topic: Fylde Coast Viviparous



Hi Suzi I 've not been looking over Wyre yet, once I go over the bridge I get lost, any further than The shard Bridge Inn and I have had it.

I am going to try and start keeping records of what I see and where so I will definately be looking over there soon.The last time I saw a dyke over there there was a car stuck in it,(boy racers),but I will also keep my eyes open for our amphibian friends

Cheers Ray




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 01 Jun 2006 Topic: Fylde Coast Viviparous



Hi,

In trying to locate new sites I have just checked out the perfect place.Air temp 15 degs,slightly overcast with sunny spells,reasonable breeze but not too strong.A dissused stretch of railway,built about 50 years ago but not used for at least 15 years.southwestish facing,built on hardcore,overgrown in places with ferns, honeksuckle, brambles etc, but also large open spaces.a nice mixture of steel railway lines wooden sleepers, most painted with black bitumen concrete sleepers and various types of garden waste and debris.A dyke running beside the line with some water present,and no regular visits from man.

I walked for about 2 miles and as you can guess I found nothing but a couple of  common frogs,I do love our amphibian friends but I was hoping for a lot more,not quite so perfect after all,so frustrating.The railway does run along the back of some houses so there are probabaly cats about but I didn,t come accross any.

Never mind try again.

Does anyone know what else I may find up here (herp wise) apart from common lizards.

If anyone was looking for sites to relocate any herps, To my amateur eye this looks like a good spot.

Anyway onwards and upwards .

Ray




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 04 Jun 2006 Topic: non native animals in the uk



Hi

I am going to tell you about something I did last summer (sounds like a film title) which will probably alarm some of you,and after becoming a regular reader of this site I probably wouldn't do it a second time.

I live on the North west Coast of England about 100 yards from the sea which can be pretty windswept at times, however all the back gardens face each other in what can be best described as a very small valley creating a bit of a suntrap.At the bottom of my garden I have a 20 foot long wall covered in trellis with well established evergreen Honeysuckle growing on it.The wall is south facing and in the summer has the sun on it from about 9.00am to 19.00pm

I have always felt a bit sorry for myself thinking (until recently) that I lived an area where none of our native Herps were present.

I have never liked keeping animals in captivity but I do keep Green Anoles in a large viv (2mtre x 1mtre x1mtre) in my basement the wife woun't have it anywhere else(wish I could do a swap).

I had often wondered how they might cope living in our climate especially with global warming becoming a reality,(I have noticed a change in the weather over the last 10 years),so on Fathers day of last year I released 2 males and 2 females onto the back wall.

It was a baptism of fire for them,that night it absolutely poured down and I didn't expect to see them ever again,but having said that they would experience much worse in their native Florida in the hurricane season and sure enough by lunch time of the next day all 4 were there sunning themselves on the trellis.

They stayed there all summer, they could have up and left and gone anywhere but the position obviously suited them.During this time I saw them behaving as you would expect in their natural habitat,hunting for food,displaying,fighting,mating and sunning themselves.This they did for most of the day unlike our native species maybe, it wasn't quite warm enough for them but taking temp readings on the material they were basking on the readings were above 30degs most of the time.I did look but I never found any eggs.

We have a cat but I keep her well fed and she wears a bell at all times but there are at least 8 other cats in the gardens around mine and they do visit on occasions but they never seemed interested in what was on the wall above them.Maisie (our cat) would sit and watch with amusement but I never saw her make any attempt to catch any of them,maybe because of where they were,a vertical wall with dense vegitation on it.

It's a great feeling sitting on your patio at 7.30am drinking a cup of coffee before going to work and watching a lizard 2 feet away drinking the dew off a leaf.

Up until the 14/10/05 I saw all 4, by the 23/10/05 I had caught 3 and put them back in their viv I never found the last female, it was getting cold by then and she may have  gone too deep into the vegetation for me to find her.The only way I could catch them was to find where they were sleeping the night before then go out early the next morning and take them before they warmed up. They would usually sleep in the same place each night but this was governed by where the sun was shining at the end of the day, once the temp was above 10 degs they were too fast for me.

When I caught them they were the healthiest I had ever seen them,a beautiful shape and their colours were so vivid, they are still alive today.

They were left to fend for themselves mainly,I would sometimes release some crickets on the wall which the house sparrows soon took advantage of but apart from that they fed themselves. I saw them taking flies, catapilars, crickets and spiders, there were also slugs, snails, hoverflies,and woodlice about but I never saw them take any of them.If I hadn't seen them for a while the easiest way to bring them into view was to spray the Honeysuckle with water, they were soon out having a drink.

It was such a good feeling knowing they were surviving and in fact thriving in my garden and I used to spend hours watching them.

The warmer months of our climate our obviously suitable for a lot of other reptiles but the winter months arn't so accomodating.On Christmas eve I found the last female in the middle of the patio,quite healthy looking, quite plump but dead.Why she was in the middle of the Patio I don't know, none of them had left the wall during the summer, I only saw one drop to the floor to catch a cricket but he was soon up the wall again.Maybe she was trying to make her way in from the cold on her own but it did answer my last question could they survive a English winter?......NO. 

Cheers, Ray




ray999
Ray999
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Joined: 07 Mar 2006
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Posted: 05 Jun 2006 Topic: non native animals in the uk



Hi

Found some pics sorry about the quality




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 10 Jun 2006 Topic: mixed (and rather battle scarred) company



Hi I am still a bit new to this, what are we looking at here?,Is it a common and sand lizard together and if so is this normal.

I was out this morning from 0730 till 11.00 this morning where I would normally find common lizards but I saw nothing.Is this how it is going to be from now on until the weather cools?.

Ray  




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 11 Jun 2006 Topic: mixed (and rather battle scarred) company



Hi Mike,

I live in Blackpool, not that far from Merseyside and have started looking this year for our Herps on known sites in the area.Up to pres I have only found common lizards but have now been looking for any signs of sand lizards in the area (which John Newton was hoping I may find) so it is good to see the two together so I know What I am looking for and they also live in the same habitat.I have also looked at three other sites where I thought I may find something but no luck yet.Not sure how well you may know the area up here but do you know of any other sites  and what else I should be looking for,there dosn't seem to be a shortage of amphibians just our scaley friends.

Cheers Ray.




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 12 Jun 2006 Topic: Fylde Coast Viviparous



Well Gemma you were right about the weather,It rained all morning up until 12.00ish.At lunchtime it was just starting to clear with a little hazy sunshine so I thought I would try the disused railway again as it is not far from my work.The first half hour was a waste of time but just as I was about to pack it in I noticed the first Common Lizard.I saw 8 in total in about 20mins In what I think is a new location I have not heard it mentioned before,but still waiting for my next species,I thought I might have seen some sloworms by now at least.

this poor girl was pretty gravid and found it hard to run away cheers Ray.

 




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 13 Jun 2006 Topic: Scottish Reptiles



Hi

how far north are they found

Ray 




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 13 Jun 2006 Topic: Fylde Coast Viviparous



Hi

I have been checking under pieces of wood and plastic sheets etc but so far have not seen any slow worms.I think time has played it's part but I can remember finding them a lot easier when I was a youngster.When I went to Portland bill earlier in the year I saw 3 sunbathing patially covered in grass / brambles mind you there were a lot more of everything there.I will have to start adding to the artificial covers that are about.

Cheers Ray




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 27 Jun 2006 Topic: Fylde Coast Viviparous



Hi

went out looking at lunchtime today on disused railway,temp was about 18 deg overcast skies with the odd glimpse of the sun.Left arm was still a little sore,went out herp hunting on Saturday saw nothing but got a little nip from some unseen insect probably a horse fly,arm and hand swelled up badly and ended up going to the emergency walk in centre Sunday morning for antibiotics and today kept being mobbed by a pair of seagulls, par for the course I suppose ,anyway after a while saw 5 commons.I think I identified at least 2 as being female but neither were gravid, does this mean they may have given birth by now and if so when am I likley to start seeing some young.Also they seem quite content to stay out on objects when there is complete cloud cover,are they just waiting in hope or are they still able to extract heat from the hidden sun

On another point talking about ACO's.If they are put in area's where they will attract say sloworms in more concentrated numbers than you may normally expect purely because they like to be under that type of cover are you getting a distorted impression of how many there might be in that area or will the presence of ACO's actually increase the population.Also is there a proven method of establishing the population of any given species of Herps.I have started placing some ACO's about but no luck with the sloworms yet I also think in some areas someone is tiding up behind me (spoilsport). 

Anyway enough questions for now

Ray

 




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 16 Jul 2006 Topic: Subterranean Common Lizard?



What always gets me is the extremes of mans behavior,on the one hand you have the barbaric actions of Japanese fishermen  slautering Dolphins as highlighted on Dolphins cry too and then you have others willing to carry out what sounds like a potentialy dangerous task to save 8 young newts.I must admit going miles underground in dark damp cramped tunnels is not my thing.

Ray 




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 25 Jul 2006 Topic: Reptiles In Cyprus



Hi James

I was there this time last year, it was very very hot and although I wasn't  really looking I didn't see anything when I was at sea level.We had a villa up in the hills overlooking Paphos where it was cooler and while I was there I regularly saw Spiny lizards (laudakia stellio) Kotschy Gecko's(cyrtopodion kotschyi) and sadly a few mornings I also found dead Snake Eyed Lizards (ophisops elegans) in the pool.

Changing the subject slightly when I was in Tenerife a few years ago I went up to some locals who were throwing bread for what I assumed were birds.When I got closer they were actually throwing the bread for lizards that were living in the rocks,I think they were Common Wall Lizards (podarcis muralis) and while the bread was moving they would run out, grab it,and eat the bread.

Has anyone else seen anything like this.

Cheers ,Ray    




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 26 Jul 2006 Topic: Reptiles In Cyprus



They are in the forest above Pathos but they are pretty much everywhere especially disused/ unfinished building sites.Where we were staying (it was called where the Gods live) it was one of the last developements on the road up to the forests and it was in a lot of scrubland which like Dan says is a good place to find them.

I could recommend Fat Mamma's as a good place to eat ,American steak house massive portions and the biggest rack of ribbs I have ever seen.

I am off to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in a few weeks time I won't be able to do much hunting (25th wedding aniversary) but it would good to know what I may find there.

What other unusual eating habits do lizards have

Ray

 

 




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 27 Jul 2006 Topic: Reptiles In Cyprus



Thanks Mark, looks like a good site it will take some reading

Cheers

Ray 




ray999
Ray999
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Posted: 30 Jul 2006 Topic: A good day for Slowworms



Hi suzi

As I have mentioned before I used to live in Torquay and I can remember when I was about 10 I was looking on this grass bank for slow worms and common lizards when I saw what looked like a large stick,I went to move it when it moved itself and so did the rest of the bank with it.I know everything looks bigger when you are young but I was used to handling lizards and slow worms but this looked massive and frightened the life out of me.I am not proud to say but I ran away,when I had the courage to go back it had gone.As best as I can remember it looked like a huge slow worm but it was probably a grassie.Now being a young kid I had explored this area really well and there was no water of any description anywhere,so was it a grassie or could it have been something else.

Cheers

Ray




ray999

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