RAUK - Archived Forum - Early adder sightings

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Early adder sightings:

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Caleb
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
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Posted: 12 Mar 2003

I remember reading a while ago (I think it was in Malcolm Smith's book) that adders occasionally come out on warm days in winter, and have been seen basking on snow.

Has anyone here seen them in the winter? The earliest I've ever seen up here in NE England was mid April, the latest was late September. I'm sure someone can do better than that...


Caleb
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Posted: 17 Mar 2003

Well, I've sort of answered my own question...

I saw quite a few adders out in County Durham yesterday... there was frost on the ground, and ponds were frozen over, but adders were out basking in the sunnier spots.

There was also plenty of frogspawn about, but no toadspawn yet, so it looks like our adders come out at about the same time as the toads.


Gemma Fairchild
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Posted: 17 Mar 2003

Would be interesting to study first emergences across the country. I can not recall seeing adders this early in the southern regions, so I wonder if they emerge earlier in their northern range to make the most of our poor summers?

The identification pages had 3 or 4 hits for searches of Vipera berus last week so I guess they have been sighted elsewhere.


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Mike
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Posted: 17 Mar 2003

> I saw quite a few adders out in County Durham yesterday... 

Adder them to the forum distribution maps.

> There was also plenty of frogspawn about, but no toadspawn yet,

This weekend we had our first toadspawn for the year.

 


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David Bird
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Posted: 18 Mar 2003
I Adder seen on a bank where I know there are several more on 21 February nr Wareham Dorset. Bright sunny day also out on 24 February so individual animals do vary when they come out of hibernation. Another site on Poole Harbour had 3 adult and 1 juvenile Adder out on 2 march Sand Lizards also on the same site and numerous Wall Lizards on a site close by were also out. This last species comes out on any sunny day throughout the winter.
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
Gemma Fairchild
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Posted: 18 Mar 2003
That's my theory blown out of the water then
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Gemma Fairchild
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Posted: 18 Mar 2003
First Common Toad spawn seen at Dartford today, Many Male and Female Common Newts observed in warm shallows.
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Tony Phelps
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Posted: 28 Mar 2003

Adders - usually the smaller male <35-45cm often out in force here in SE Dorset on many sites February. Older males <55cm peak early March. Sites variable re microclimate (eg could be screened by tall conifers).

When properly emerged (first weeks of March) males undertake local dispersal and establish surface dens - can form aggregations <10 snakes.

Today 28/03 Nine males on hibernation bank Hartland Moor NNR; also 6 males grouped close together at Norden, a site near Corfe Castle.

Five adult females also out today, several still had a coating of clay adhering to body.

Have just heard from Ian Evans in Sutherland that early emergence of March 03 is exceptional - past years have been early April.

 


Tony Phelps
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Posted: 31 Mar 2003

 

Purbeck today - 2 male adders moulted - this was alwys first or second week in April, and many still adhere to this date, but it means that the spring male moult is less synchronised than it was say five years ago.

Females out in force now. Some quite thin, but most in good condition.

More grass snakes mating today 2male on one female.

Sand lizard males active and mate searching, about 70% of one population are 'greened' up. Females basking, never more than half a metre from burrow and usually well concealed.

I think the TV weatherperson said warmest March day since records began.

I recorded 21deg at 1500 today.

Will be in Surrey for a few days - reptile survey and translocation


-LAF
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Joined: 03 Apr 2003
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Posted: 03 Apr 2003

I heard a several years back whilst in the YHC (from a guy called Colin Fitzsimmons - BHS education officer - anyone remember ?) that Adders had been recorded in every month on Studland heath when the weather was suitable. In Lincolnshire they were out in force on the 24th of March and were probably out before (I just wasn't there). A few pics taken then can be had at: http://gallery.pethobbyist.com/index.pl?user=29387&cat=500&thumb=1 . I noticed that all the Adders I saw (12 - one day/one site) were looking in really good condition. Don't know if we get 'good years' and 'bad uns' as such but I've never seen them come out of hibernation with this much weight on before.

Cheers, Lee.


Lee Fairclough
Tony Phelps
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Posted: 04 Apr 2003

Adders can be seen any time of year in theory - strangely enough I see more grass snakes and slow worms 'off season'.

Grass snakes mate earlier than adders, at least five matings observed this year. Sand lizards mating/males wandering around in earnest. These males cover a lot of ground in a day when mate-searching but the following morning can usually be seen basking at 'usual' spot.

More male adders have moulted, a fresh moult male seen crossing road at Hartland today. Several last years baby adders spotted. (well concealed).

Lots of very small juvenile sand lizards at several sites, means that a good number of second broods have survived.

Tony

 

 

 

 


David Bird
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Posted: 05 Apr 2003
Had a report earlier in the week of male adders dancing from the warden of a local nature reserve.
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Alan Hyde
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Posted: 17 Apr 2003

The Adder pictured in my other post on this forum was out on March 22nd. The latest I have ever seen adders is November 28th , and that was on Bisley heath.

Alan


O-> O+>
Jerry
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Posted: 24 Jan 2005
[QUOTE=David Bird]Had a report earlier in the week of male adders dancing from the warden of a local nature reserve. [/QUOTE] Hi Dave that wouldnt have been one of the hct wardens for a local site, by any chance would it? Jerry Jerry38376.7638078704
jerry
Tony Phelps
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Posted: 12 Feb 2005
As I am stuck in Guildford on a temp. basis thought I would check out a few sites that I had not visited before. Went to Whitmoor Common just up the road. Wet windy but some strong sun. Small male melanic berus coiled up tight. Air 11.5 Ground 12 and very wet, snake very torpid.

Tony
Jerry
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Posted: 14 Feb 2005
saw 4 male adders today at a local heath even though the temperature was only about 7 degrees quite sunny in the morning though, just an icy wind
jerry
GemmaJF
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Posted: 15 Feb 2005

Local nature reserve Essex this morning: 2 males 10:54 one female 11:13 8 degrees, light but cold N wind ground frost last night. The males were very alert making the most of strong sun.

second male not in shot but about 12 inches to the right :0)


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Tony Phelps
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Posted: 15 Feb 2005
Went to Whitmoor agagin - air temp 9deg - cold N.Wind.
same melanic male in company with another male, quite alert ground temp where basking 16.5deg.

They appear to have done some decent management here, leaving good cover. Am meeting the ranger this week as he wants to talk 'reptiles' with me; nice!

Tony
GemmaJF
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Posted: 15 Feb 2005

Wish I had the same luck with the site above Tony. I saw today they have been hand clearing bracken, why I have no idea as anyone knows cutting bracken is totally futile, all it has done is remove cover in area where I was recording berus last year a few yards from where todays pictures were taken.

I took a lot of trouble to write a report last year regarding my concerns about bracken removal at this site and highlighting the importance of leaving bracken for adder in some areas. I sometimes wonder who the real enemies to nature conservation are.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
GemmaJF
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Posted: 18 Feb 2005
Quick correction to my sighting on the 15th, all three are males, thanks Tony for putting me right on this. (I think I'll give up sexing adders and just record them as small, medium and big ones!)
Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant

- Early adder sightings

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