New Colours

It would be lovely to slow time down in spring. So much can change in a day, while over

Green-winged orchid (Orchis morio)

the course of a week, an empty sky is suddenly thick with swallows, and the yellows of celandines and primroses have been swamped by the blues and purples of violets and bluebells.

With the sun high, the colours are ever more vibrant, and the green-winged orchid I almost trod on yesterday (I was looking for a favourite adder) was especially rich.

My local ‘patch’ has plenty of floral attractions, and many people come for the display of orchids – with the bee orchid the prize for most.

I spend most of my spring seeking out the reptiles, and there are good numbers of slowworms, common or viviparous lizards, grass snakes and adders.

Since January, I have been identifying potential adder hibernacula for the Wildlife Trust who maintain the site. I have found six snakes in my allocated area, with the first appearing of January 28th.

Over the past few days I have found a couple of sloughed skins and one female adder has moved to a different spot, suggesting that any new sightings could be of snakes that have left their winter quarters.

Therefore, the handsome little male adder that I found yesterday will not get a

Viviparous lizard (Lacerta vivipara)

mention in my survey findings, though with the snakes as less of a fixation I spent a short while yesterday trying to get a decent snap of a common lizard (see right).

And at the top of the hill behind our cottage, as I neared home, was my first wheatear of this spring. Sharp-lined and clean coloured – he contrasted rather well with the barbed wire and weathered fence post. The most handsome sentry in Dorset.

Northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)


  1. Lovely glimpse is spring.

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