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Looking for Adders

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Sparviter View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10 May 2015 at 4:55pm
Hi All.
I have been really hoping to see some adders for the last couple of years, but have still not got lucky. Last weekend I was in South Solway, Cumbria and yesterday I had a good look in Rhosneigr, Anglesey (both apparently good locations according to my web searching). I was wondering if anybody could recommend anywhere better (preferably within a couple of hours drive). I live in East Cheshire, so NW England/North Wales would be great.
Many Thanks, Lee

(So far, the only sign I have seen of adders is this...)   

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparviter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2015 at 5:29pm
Also, if anybody has any spotting tips? I believe you have to be early in the morning if it is hot. my last two trips were mid to late morning and the weather was cool and breezy both times. I am thinking of trying Cannock Chase next, early morning on a warm day.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparviter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2015 at 6:11pm
Cannock Chase was a winner! My first trip was basically reconnaissance (I should have researched more) as I had no idea where I was going. I set off in Parkland and soon realised I was not in a good area, with short cropped grass and dog walkers. Eventually I found some good heathland but it was then getting late in the day and after a 6 hour hike, I headed home with spotting nothing but four common lizards.

I went back a week later and headed straight to the heathland. I spotted a different area to where I looked last time and soon found my first adder! Two more were found within the immediate area and I also found their dens in the mossy embankments.









I believe there are also a lot of Natrix on the Chase, but I haven't even seen any water yet. If anybody could point be in the right direction for these, it would be much appreciated as I will definitely be going back for another look at the adders soon!

Regards, Lee
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Omlette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2015 at 9:59pm
well done lee. nothing like seeing your first adder, especially after putting in so much effort.

never seen grassies on the chase but they are there.

tim


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2015 at 11:38pm
I wouldn't necessarily look for water to be sure of grass snakes. I can think of a few sites where there are grass snakes and no water within at least a third of a mile, or more. Sure there might be some damp patches, but no ponds or similar. 
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hawley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2015 at 1:36pm

Some notes taken from one of the ARG websites to help you.


Adder Spotting






The best way to spot Adders is to determine a place where they are known to exist. This may be a local heath, common or even a nature reserve. Most areas of public-access countryside will have an appointed warden or conservation officer. Check your local council webpages to find who this is, and ask them where the best places are to spot Adders. Another useful source of information is the local Amphibian and Reptile Group (ARG). Be prepared for people to be secretive about Adder sites, as human persecution is, sadly, still a threat to Adders.

Observing reptiles in the wild can be difficult, and lack of sightings after hours of effort is usual for beginners, and can sap the initial enthusiasm. Knowing Adders are present in an area will help morale, and you can use a known site to hone your skills.

Once you have found a site, you must next decide whereabouts on the site is the best place to look. Adders require good dense ground cover, where they can hide from predators, yet also require sunny spots for basking. Adders tend to prefer higher (drier) ground in Spring and Autumn, and will readily adopt dips on a hillside as protection from the wind. South facing slopes are preferred, as sunlight will fall on these areas for more of the day.

Adders are very shy animals and will disappear into cover silently as soon as they detect your approach. Walk slowly and lightly as ground vibrations can be picked up by Adders at a considerable distance. Pause occasionally to scan the edges of undergrowth. Walk with the sun behind your back, so you are looking at the undergrowth along your shadow. This way you will be looking into sheltered basking spots, rather than over undergrowth which obscures sunny positions. Look at the edges of good ground cover (ideally a mixture of deep moss and heather), in direct sunlight.

Although Adders are active in conditions as cold as 6°C probably the best temperature range for spotting Adders is between 9°C and 28°C (48-82°F). Better days will have intermittent cloud cover, as continual sunshine allows the Adder to warm more quickly, and to bask less frequently, and the best chance of spotting Adders is when they are basking. Choosing a morning after rainfall the previous night provides even better chances for spotting Adders, as the dampness in the ground will cool the snake, such that it has to bask to gain the required energy for the day's activity.

Looking at cover close to your feet means that you would have to get very close to an Adder without it spotting you first. Its best to scan the ground-cover at a distance of at least 12 feet (4m) although further is better, scanning ahead and closer alternately, as Adders have excellent camouflage. If possible, walk such that any wind is blowing from the direction you are walking towards, as Adders have an excellent sense of smell, and could otherwise detect your presence.

If you are lucky enough to spot an Adder, remain motionless, and if possible crouch, very slowly, to the ground. Adders are very sensitive to objects moving against the sky, as most of their predators are birds. If the Adder moved into deep cover, and providing it was not unduly disturbed, mark the location with a twig, it is likely to reappear within 20 minutes to the same spot to continue basking.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparviter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2015 at 6:49pm
Thanks for the replies!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparviter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2015 at 6:52pm
Another trip to Cannock last week and 6 adders found. Here is my favourite photo from the day...



And here is my favourite snake found so far - a very feisty blue male...



Edited by Sparviter - 15 Jun 2015 at 6:56pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2015 at 6:55pm
that bottom one in particular is an amazing snake!  are you sure it's a male??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparviter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2015 at 8:26pm
Originally posted by will will wrote:

that bottom one in particular is an amazing snake!  are you sure it's a male??



I'm not sure actually! I assumed that with a slate blue colouration it must be a male... It looked more long and slender than the females I have found too. The markings were a pale reddish colouration though, rather than black, which did make me wonder. What do you think?
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