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Winter Adder

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: Herpetofauna Native to the UK
Forum Name: Adder
Forum Description: Forum for all issues concerning Vipera berus
URL: http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=5115
Printed Date: 24 Oct 2020 at 1:28pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Winter Adder
Posted By: Rags
Subject: Winter Adder
Date Posted: 14 Dec 2016 at 3:46pm
Dorset 14th December.

Unusually mild weather and bright sunshine tempted this female out to bask today.

This population began showing early - Feb 10th - this year. Late to bed and early to rise!


https://flic.kr/p/Q2U1gZ" rel="nofollow">

https://flic.kr/p/Q9RssL" rel="nofollow">

Apart from the Wall lizards I should think that will be it now till next year. Looking forwards to a productive 2017.



Replies:
Posted By: will
Date Posted: 14 Dec 2016 at 5:45pm
that's warmed my cockles, well doneSmile


Posted By: Rags
Date Posted: 14 Dec 2016 at 7:02pm
Thanks Will.

(I'm surprised your cockles need warming)


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 14 Dec 2016 at 8:08pm
Lovely, warm here too during the day but cold at night, and very good spot in the undergrowth, so well camouflaged!


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 15 Dec 2016 at 7:20am
@Ray LOL  I'm not getting any younger..


Posted By: Rags
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 3:17pm
Up and running again in the south of England.

Six Adders at one site at midday on Thursday 16th February 2017.
The last sighting in 2016 was on the 22nd December giving a 'closed season' here of just 55 days.

I have visited the site several times this year when conditions felt close to being just right but no luck, probably due in the main  to a chilly wind crossing the site. Today good sunshine and no wind. As I stood feeling pretty smug and watching the snakes a local old boy walking his dog shuffled past and said, "I saw them out over a week ago."

https://flic.kr/p/RADE7w" rel="nofollow">

https://flic.kr/p/RAFRK7" rel="nofollow">

https://flic.kr/p/SbmyQp" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 7:35pm
Great to see such clear photo's, still surprised they are out so early, it is warm with the sun out but very chilly otherwise.


Posted By: Suzi
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 11:21pm
Great stuff! Good photos. 

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Suz


Posted By: Rags
Date Posted: 17 Feb 2017 at 4:31pm
Thanks for the comments.

Same area.
Joined by a couple of extra snakes today, and a male Slow Worm (not pictured).

https://flic.kr/p/Sd1vxv" rel="nofollow">


https://flic.kr/p/S9qs8m" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 17 Feb 2017 at 4:57pm
Nice one Ray, glad they're out in sunny Dorset.  I'll give my London sites a try this weekend if the weather is decent.  Interesting obs re the closed season of 55 days - I remember Malcolm Smith's calculation of around 150 days for adders in his 1951 book - global warming or maybe just that people didn't think to look for them so early and so late?  I suspect a bit of both.


Posted By: Rags
Date Posted: 17 Feb 2017 at 5:42pm
I agree - a bit of both.

150 days sounds like a long winter - 1st November to the 30th March ?

When we moved to Dorset I didn't really think about going out to look for reptiles until mid- March, if the weather was okay. I met a young lady at an early adder site near Swanage and she told me that she was seeing adders a few miles away as early as the start - mid February. I started looking earlier in the year when the weather was only borderline and behold, Adders. Not only adders but early grass snakes and lizards too.

The short closed season this winter was largely due to very late sightings of one particular adder around 22nd December. This years first sightings are 6 days later for me.

I think this coming Monday 20th, will be a good time to search. I'm thinking it's about Sand Lizard time?

Ray.


Posted By: Suzi
Date Posted: 17 Feb 2017 at 7:51pm
I think if there were dedicated sessions of looking for early snakes and lizards we might see a lot more. Adders tend to be in more particular habitat than our other species and so not so often chanced upon. People might remember a couple of years ago I was seeing slow worms under my covers up until December 4th, I think it was. I too had always thought March was a likely time for their emergence from hibernation, but when I looked in February, lo and behold there they were. This is all easy as I only need to walk down my garden to look for them. Adders for me would entail a drive out to a heath and if it had been wet (very likely) then very difficult underfoot. 
Again, having got newts in my ponds I am surprised to see them early in the year, or even all winter. I've seen a GCN in both ponds (or same one moving from pond to pond) earlier than I would have expected. 
What I'm trying to say is I think that if these species are looked for earlier than expected in the year, then I think we might get more surprises.


-------------
Suz


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 18 Feb 2017 at 9:02am
I reckon it just didn't occur to people to look so early / late in the season for herps.  I remember as a kid back in the 80's we had male GCN in full breeding dress in our garden pond in early January.  The received wisdom was that snakes couldn't be found beyond the start of October, hence Malcolm Smith's 150 day rule of thumb for adders - from early Oct to early March.  It's shame that reptile emergence data wasn't more rigorously collected as it could help other phenological studies regarding climate change etc.

Could be time for the first (dull!) male sandy, Ray - how long until someone finds all six species on one day this year?


Posted By: Rags
Date Posted: 18 Feb 2017 at 3:05pm
People are paddling in the sea down here! Proper Spring feel to the day - plenty of time for snow yet.

I wasn't the only one enjoying the day...

Wall Lizards in good numbers.
https://flic.kr/p/RDReeU" rel="nofollow">

https://flic.kr/p/QZvKU2" rel="nofollow">

First La this year...
https://flic.kr/p/RZS6Ws" rel="nofollow">


https://flic.kr/p/SeuSzt" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: Rags
Date Posted: 18 Feb 2017 at 3:09pm
Will :
"Could be time for the first (dull!) male sandy, Ray - how long until someone finds all six species on one day this year? "


I would think that maybe possible before the end of the month if the conditions hold.


Posted By: AGILIS
Date Posted: 19 Feb 2017 at 9:27am
Super colours ray ,keith

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   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID


Posted By: AGILIS
Date Posted: 19 Feb 2017 at 9:29am
Best of luck on the London sites Will weather looks a bit warmer Keith

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   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 19 Feb 2017 at 11:08am
Cheers Keith - good to hear from you - had three males yesterday, let's hope that's it for winter!




Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 19 Feb 2017 at 11:14am
Originally posted by will will wrote:

I reckon it just didn't occur to people to look so early / late in the season for herps.  I remember as a kid back in the 80's we had male GCN in full breeding dress in our garden pond in early January.  The received wisdom was that snakes couldn't be found beyond the start of October, hence Malcolm Smith's 150 day rule of thumb for adders - from early Oct to early March.  It's shame that reptile emergence data wasn't more rigorously collected as it could help other phenological studies regarding climate change etc.

Could be time for the first (dull!) male sandy, Ray - how long until someone finds all six species on one day this year?



Once again, think you're right Will. And just like Suzi, before i had the convenient viewing of my own ponds i wouldn't have considered checking for frogs and newts in winter, but then i discovered there's no big hibernation 'shut down' and although there are less of them than during the breeding period, i can find some individuals active on all but the very coldest days. Even then, as others have noted, i have sometimes observed them moving about under ice.

Great post Rags, thanks for the report. I've been looking for slow worms and vivs in the usual spots but nothing so far.


Posted By: Richard2
Date Posted: 20 Feb 2017 at 9:53pm
At Studland on Saturday, one female Sand Lizard at about 4.30 (and a big starling murmuration in the distance).





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