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Wall Lizards - Dorset

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Rags View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 Jan 2015 at 6:21pm

As a new member on the forum I have taken time reading back through several of the older threads. I have noticed that there has been some discussion over the continued existence of a couple of the historic colonies of Podarcis muralis in Dorset.

I can confirm the Wall lizards at Durlston Country Park near Swanage were still showing on a stone wall near the castle back on the 22nd September last year. Four juveniles were out basking, no adults seen. I reported the sighting to one of the rangers at the park who told me he had never seen them in the park before.

I recently visited Corfe castle but the weather was against me and nothing was seen lizard wise. I did speak to a young lady working in the ticket booth and she confirmed that lizards were frequently seen on the walls and crossing the path in the Summer. I'm guessing these would be PM but will try to get some photos to confirm this later in the year.

I have never visited the sites on Portland but with luck and a following wind should be able to get there at least a couple of times this Spring...watch this space.


Durlston Wall Lizards...






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2015 at 9:35pm
When I went to Portland it was specifically to see a wall lizard. Somewhere (on here?) I discovered the exact spot that they were located. We drove there, parked, walked a short distance and voila! I was fascinated by their lack of fear of us and also how many there were in a small area. I think I had heard there were two groups of them on Portland, but we didn't go anywhere else specifically to look. We did amble all along looking at seemingly similar habitat, but no nothing. Where they were must have something just suitable.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2015 at 9:55am
Hi Suzy,

Interested to hear of your contact with the Portland Podarcis. Any directional help in locating them would be appreciated.

I have checked the link to the 'SARG' Wall lizard site. It does suggest there are at least three sites for wall lizards on Portland. One at Tout Quarry, West Weare, another at a disused quarry at Longstone Ope and a third at Cheyne Wear. All sites are close together so it should be practical to check them all on one visit. It looks as if the Tout Quarry site lizards may be more elusive, if indeed they are still there.

Just waiting from some slightly better weather before making the trip. Any success or failure I will post on here.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2015 at 10:48am
Hi Rags interesting to hear that they are in the park in Swanage spotting the thread I was about to have a fit as I thought you had spotted one this week keith
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alex2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2015 at 11:34am
Interesting re Durlston Podarcis - I live in Langton which is very close to DCP, and wasn't aware they were found there, have always assumed this to be a myth. They are present at Winspit, though not in the numbers seen some 10 years ago, and although this was never a large colony, I believe their numbers have been affected partly due to collection (much like how I suspect the Boscombe Green's have been decimated). The Corfe Castle population was largely rounded up several years ago and I've not seen a single specimen in my last 4 visits, the last being late summer last year.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2015 at 2:52pm
Could it be that the original Durlston CP Podarcis did indeed die out a few years back?

The ranger I spoke to hadn't noticed them. I've visited before and not found any. Alex2 lives nearby and was also unaware of them.

The SARG 'Wall Lizard Project' lists the colony as;

"History:

This unconfirmed colony, based at the site of Durlston Castle, is believed to comprise the green-backed form, as found at the other two Purbeck coastal sites. The date of origin is unknown

Only 3 individuals, all males, have been reported between 1999 and 2001. This is a presumed private release that did not establish a viable colony.

Extirpation date:

Circa 1990s"


In September I saw no adults, only four juveniles of a similar age. Could it be someone has unlawfully reintroduced them once again?



 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2015 at 5:04pm
Hi Keith,

It certainly seems a lot chillier this week compared to the rest of January. I haven't been over to Durlston CP yet but there is a chance they could already be showing. Certainly the ones at more established colonies close to Bournemouth have continued to be active throughout the Winter so far - as reported on the thread - 'RAUK's a Herp a day!'


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2015 at 11:02pm
Rags, I've looked back and I was told of the location of sites on Portland by someone who used to post on here. You seem to have got the names anyway, and I see a Google search helps pretty much. We parked and walked a very short distance and the ones we saw were not in a large quarry. We did look at the quarries but saw nothing.
This is one from our visit, which was 2 April 2007.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2015 at 4:22pm
Okay thanks, I'll see what I can turn up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2015 at 3:31pm
Bournemouth Promenade, west of the pier. A bit of bright morning sunshine but a chill wind.

8 Wall Lizards out basking today...

Some easy to spot among the dead bracken.





Others not so easy...





(Five minutes after taking these I was flayed by a monster hailstorm. Roll on proper Spring please!)
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