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Dorset lizards showing

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    Posted: 24 Feb 2015 at 8:56pm
First sightings this year for me. A couple of days later than the previous two years. Lizards sheltered against the wind which is still bitterly cold.



Also managed a couple of Adders this afternoon. Feels like things are finally moving again on the south coast.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2015 at 6:41am
Excellent sand lizard spot - very jealous! amazing how dull they look on emergence..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2015 at 6:03pm
Thanks Will.

This site has traditionally early risers as far as I'm concerned. However another nearby 'early' site still quiet after another check this afternoon. The problem being they are so easy to overlook when first emerged due to their earthy appearance.

Still waiting on ZV here, which by my very amateurish calculations could be at least another two to three weeks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2015 at 6:14pm
interesting that La are early to bed for the year (mid August in some cases) and also early to rise the following spring.  I usually expect Zv out and about along with the first Vb, but as yet haven't seen any Zv in spite of apparently suitable weather.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2015 at 11:50pm
Will why would they hibernate mid August? Seems incredibly early, and lots of hot weather still possible - likely even! What would be the advantages to the species in doing that?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2015 at 6:54am
A very good Q! it has been suggested that it protects the hatchlings from their cannibalistic parents, but this argument is species-selection/group selectionist and doesn't hold water. This is because any adult that 'decided' to stay above ground would be able to feed up on the hatchlings and its genes would be passed on more effectively into the next generation, ie the 'hawk' strategy would triumph over the 'doves'. So there must be an advantage to the individual lizard in terms of its own lifetime reproductive success, but it does seem strange since there's often a glut of insects on the heath in September (crane flies etc). We need an expert on this - over to Chris??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2015 at 7:59am
An interesting point raised here. I will have to pay more attention to the final sightings of the year, as well as the first.

It certainly seems that they just drop off the radar quite early on. I thought maybe the increased vegetation cover meant they were harder to see.

As Suzy asks, "What would be the advantages to the species in doing that?" ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2015 at 9:18am
I'm guessing it's an energy budget thing; maybe there just isn't enough food to give them a decent chance of survival in the coming winter, whereas going underground in late summer / early autumn makes more sense energy-wise. I wonder if this links in with the 'adders underground' thread - ie perhaps it remains cooler than one might think below ground on the heaths. I do think this is a genuine phenomenon rather than observer bias, given that autumn is a great time for spotting other reptile species on the heath (including smooth snakes) and also hatchling sandies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Mar 2015 at 12:16pm
After checking this morning, Sand lizards now out at a second site in the area.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Mar 2015 at 5:22pm
good stuff - maybe more about by the end of the week if the weather forecast is to be believedCool
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