RAUK - Archived Forum - Particularly Bright Wall Lizard

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Particularly Bright Wall Lizard:

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Davew
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Joined: 12 Jan 2004
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Posted: 06 Jun 2005

Hi,

Just got back from 10 days Reptiling/Butterflying/Dragonflying etc in Dorset and then Norfolk. Mostly a total washout but two sunny days gave me ample time to see all six naturals within three hours. Additionally saw several Wall Lizards at Bournemouth including the following brightly coloured individual. Is this as bright as they get, must admit I've never seen one even close to this before. Incidentally survived my first Adder strike - it missed!!!


Vicar
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Posted: 06 Jun 2005

Wow that is a bright one!. I'll attach a more 'usual' one (Ventnor, mid April) for contrast.

Gets the adrenalin pumping eh, when adders strike ? :P


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Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
Davew
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Posted: 07 Jun 2005

"Gets the adrenalin pumping eh, when adders strike ? "

Don't know about adrenalin, certainly made my bladder spasm  I'm more used to Wall Lizards on Portland, Dorset which are generally , in my experience, quite dull. Your individual would have been bright for Portland. Perhaps the Bournemouth ones are more prone to the extreme colouration end of the spectrum - anyone have any experience here? I did see five others that day but mostly fleeting females. Also saw a mad German Woman taking some tadpoles for a walk but that's another story.


Iowarth
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Posted: 10 Jun 2005

Hi Dave

I have seen many Wall Lizards along the Bournemouth cliffs and while there is a wide colour range from grey through to various shades of green it is not uncommon for them to be this bright (a feature which is repeated in the Shoreham colony). I am attempting to upload two pictures, one of a similarly bright male and another showing that even the occasional female can try pretty hard to match it!


Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Iowarth
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Posted: 10 Jun 2005
And here's the female!
Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Mick
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Posted: 10 Jun 2005
I love wall lizards & also love hearing how well they're doing in all their british nooks & cranies. Beautiful pic's Davew. Bit surprised Vicar reckons it's bright compared to Ventnor ones though. On my one trip to IOW, about 7y'rs ago, to see the wall lizards around the clifff car park at Ventnor, the days weather was changable & not exactly ideal, but i still got to see several youngsters & sub adults & one clearly full grown adult. What immediately struck me about this one adult though, which soon disappeared, was its size & beautiful colouration. It SEEMED about the size of a full grown sand lizard & was mostly quite vividly green. I've since seen similarly vivid & beautiful ones like that at Winspit in Dorset & along a rocky wall within Cotswold Wildlife Park, & i'm aware of other sites where such vividly coloured examples exist (presumably italian sub sp.). I've not yet seen Bournemouth cliffs ones, or Shoreham ones, but soon i want to go & see a wild London colony in south east London, at kidbrooke..i think. My best UK  wall lizard experience was at Gorey Castle in Jersey...plenty of them there!, albeit of the less colourful variety.
Vicar
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Posted: 10 Jun 2005

Mick,

I'd be very interested in any news of a colony at Kidbrooke, as that's pretty close to where I was dragged up. Having some difficulty imagining where they could be, but I've been away a long time !

Anybody have any recent(ish) info regarding the Farnham colony in Surrey ? which is, (embarassingly) about 10 minutes walk from my house.


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Iowarth
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Posted: 10 Jun 2005
There certainly WAS a substantial colony at Kidbrooke along with a European Tree Frog colony in the same area. The latter is definitely gone - largely due to people taking animals. Both of these long term colonies were in the care (as much as possible) of Charles Snell. (in this forum as Chas). He would certainly be the best person to contact re the Kidbrooke colony's current status. I fear however that it MAY no longer exist. I have heard that at least part of the area was to be redeveloped and they may not have survived this. I HOPE I am wrong in this respect.
Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Mick
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Posted: 11 Jun 2005
So, might be bad news for the Kidbrooke colony then? Somewhere not too long back i was sure i'd heard the colony (i gather somewhere n'r the train st'n(?)) was still thriving. I can only hope some have spread out enough to set up camp just out of harms way. Being territorial anyway i'd guess that's at least a possibility, depending on equally suitable habitat & the sprawl of the redevelopment area. As for the Farnham colony, Vicar, last i heard was bad news there too, i'm afraid. I thought that colony was in private grounds, but anyway, i'm sure i recall hearing they'd died out, or their site had been knackered up as well. Hope i'm wrong. I reckon if i ever came up on the lotto i'd have meself a little castle with crevicey walls all crawling with wall lizards! I loves 'em! 
Vicar
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Posted: 11 Jun 2005

I've not gotten to the bottom of the Farnham colony as yet. I'd heard they were supposedly at the Castle, but I did chat to the English Heritage warden, and the head gardener, neither of whom had ever seen lizards there.

My best guess is that the colony was actually based on a nearby estate, some big ones around here with nice high old walls. I'll ask about locally and update the thread.


Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
Davew
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Posted: 11 Jun 2005
Iowarth - you may be interested to know that I also saw and photographed a female Sand Lizard at the Toft Zigzag near Boscombe pier. I passed the record to the BHS rep for the area who seemed very interested. Excellent area around Boscombe with a four Lizard species visit possible at least, probably all five although I didn't personally see any Slow Worms
Iowarth
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Posted: 11 Jun 2005

Hi Dave

I am not sure which is the Toft Zigzag but if it is to the East of Boscombe Pier I would be extremely interested. We have seen them right up to the Pier on the Western side, but to the best of my knowledge there have been no preious sightings apart from one tentative maybe by myself a year or two ago to the East. Do you have a copy of that photograph by any chance?


Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Davew
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Joined: 12 Jan 2004
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Posted: 11 Jun 2005

Hi,

I appreciate you dont know me but rest assured it's a def Sand Lizard sorry about the pic quality I haven't sorted my shots out yet and this a strongly compressed version but hopefully adequate. The Toft Zigzag is the one about 200 yards west of Boscombe pier, the first one you come to walking west from the pier so it sounds like you're already aware of their presence. I was rather surprised as the habitat didn't seem right. There was alittle question about the sex/age but I'm assuming that as there's no green whatsoever and it was the same size as other obvious adults seen at other sites earlier in the day that it's an adult female?

Also thought I'd add the following. Two of four seen (2 ad & 2imm). I have much better shots of the male and one of the immatures but this is unfortunately the best showing the male and female.

Davew38514.8816087963
Iowarth
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Posted: 12 Jun 2005

Many thanks Dave.

Shot is more than good enough to confirm it is a Sand Lizard. Its a few years since I last surveyed that area (last of several years starting at the Poole end and working along the entire cliff to Boscombe Pier!) Were extensive numbers of Sandies along much of the cliff including (smaller numbers) in badly degraded habitat. Much of the habitat towards the eastern (pier) end of that range was badly damaged by the local council in a misguided and totally useless effort to stabilise the cliff!

Nice shot of the Greens as well - I have never managed to get a pair together!

All the best


Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Mick
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Joined: 10 Jun 2005
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Posted: 12 Jun 2005
Green lizards are one of my favourites...absolutely gorgeous creatures, & on Jersey several years back i quite often saw them in pairs. Watched a brief, great little scrap between two males there.
Danial
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Joined: 01 May 2003
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Posted: 14 Jun 2005
Fantastic pics everyone.
I've just come back from Bournemouth and Ventnor, and although no luck at Bournemouth (prob at wrong end, Canford Cliffs, I did get to see some wall lizards at Ventnor Botanical Gardens.
Here are some pics

Danial
Consultant Ecologist and Amphibians Officer of Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group
www.surrey-arg.org.uk

chas
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Joined: 30 Jan 2005
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Posted: 09 Mar 2007

Re. the Kidbrooke wall lizard colony.  At one point the numbers on this site exceeded (to my estimation) well over a thousand in all age classes.

The sites on which they were most numerous (the remains of demolished MoD buildings bordering the old A2, Rochester Way, SE3) became redeveloped.  The firm of consultants were employed to remove the lizards, and they did not disclose where they were moved to.  Although, bearing in mind it is illegal to re-release these animals into the wild, the options were probably very limited.  At the time of the site∆s demolition some hatchlings were still emerging from an exposed sand layer underneath concrete capping.  Some still exists on a few surrounding sites and surrounding private gardens.  Many of the larger remaining sites, for example the Maritime Museum's Reserve Collection buildings (where they had never been as numerous as on the original MoD site), are also earmarked for future development.  The appearance of the lizards was very similar to the photographs on these pages.


Charles Snell

- Particularly Bright Wall Lizard

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