Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sandy area & Maulden Heath

I woke up at 4.30am this morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (especially after 2 bowls of Frosties!), and so decided to get up and make the best of the morning. By 5.45am I was walking along the River Ivel between Biggleswade & Sandy, hoping to catch sight of an Otter. There were plenty of signs - slides, runs, spraint etc., but no Otters to be seen. It was great to hear the Skylarks singing out over Biggleswade Common, and I had great views of Grey Wagtail and an electric blue Kingfisher that whizzed past me at a rate of knots, whistling loudly.

Later, I decided to try to catch up with Water Vole. Roy Langford and I spent last Saturday morning surveying likely locations. By now it was really the wrong time of day for chance views, so I decided that a sit and wait policy was the best option, choosing a wooden footbridge across a likely stream. Mid-morning yesterday, I had 3 Muntjac and a Red Fox in the adjoining field, though there were none present this morning. But just before 11am I spotted a Water Vole ploughing down the middle of the stream. There's something magical about swimming Water Voles - I'd forgotten just how big these are, and I love their chocolate-brown colour. I followed this beastie down the stream for about 75 metres before it disappeared into the emergent vegetation on the left-hand bank of the photo.

This afternoon, with the sun shining, my son Mark and I went up to Maulden Heath to see if we could see any adders. We came across these three:

The last and worst photo (taken by me - Mark took the other two!) was the most significant find because this specimen was very small and further evidence of successful breeding in past years.

On the way home, this Common Lizard was flattening itself out on a fence-post spar, enjoying the sunshine...the tail indicates that it has probably had a close escape from a predator at some point in the past. (Photo by Mark)

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