Smooth Operator

It seems quite incredible to consider that our rarest reptile, the smooth snake (Coronella austriaca)¬† was only recognised as a British species in 1859. A specimen caught six years earlier had been previously dismissed as a grass snake (or variant of) and it was a man called Dr J E Gray who got round toContinue reading “Smooth Operator”

Sloughing heck it’s cold!

It has been a peculiar week. Eight days ago I drove home towards the setting sun, after an afternoon spent on a favourite patch of Dorset heathland. The air had been alive with birdsong – woodlark, pipits, stonechats, sedge warbler, dartford warbler, cuckoo and whitethroat. There were lizards (including a sand lizard) and slow wormsContinue reading “Sloughing heck it’s cold!”

Waking Up…

Its been a slow start to spring. The weather has been reasonably settled but successive systems have channeled Arctic air from north, keeping¬† temperatures down and many of our migrants south of the Channel. Normally by now we would be seeing a steady stream of swallows, chats and warblers arriving on the south coast, yetContinue reading “Waking Up…”

A glorious weekend in the country…

This weekend my friend Martin made his now annual escape from London life in order to kick back in the Dorset hills. In past years we have squeezed a bit of fishing in, but this time we spent two and a half days hunting birds. On Friday afternoon we were at Morden Bog hoping toContinue reading “A glorious weekend in the country…”