The Adders Of Bedfordshire


Early April saw the long awaited spring sunshine finally breakthrough and just in time for the Easter holidays.

At the beginning of the year I set myself a list of target species that I wanted to see and even better photograph, of course I will be keeping you all updated as these missions get accomplished.
I had never seen Adders before and set about researching sites where I was guaranteed a close encounter of the reptilian kind. I soon realized after a bit of digging that Hertfordshire’s population of adders was now non existent, but just over the border in Bedfordshire was a small secret population. I was kindly told about the site and the 4th April saw great blue sky and perfect adder spotting conditions so i drove over the border on my quest.
My first hour was not fruitful at all with no adders seens, feeling a little disheartened I sat down next to a wood pile to see a dark tail quickly dissapear into the logs!! Was this to be my only encounter….
Feeling slightly encouraged I took a walk round the piles and soon began spotting my first adders enjoying the morning rays, they all seemed skittish and disappeared back into the undergrowth as soon as I got in position. But slowly they began to get used to me, even coming towards me literally centimeters from my face with only my camera between us. All of the specimens I found were yet to shed their skins and this can be seen with their cloudy eyes in the photos.
I left the site feeling great at finally seeing and gaining some great photos of these awesome creatures.
A week’s break in Northumberland (more on that later) and I was itching to get back to see if the Adders were still about and if they were active at all.
Waking up on Sunday morning to the unfamiliar sound of rain on my roof was a bit of a let down, knowing this was not what the adders would enjoy.
However, we decided to battle on hoping it would clear, driving up the motorway through torrential rain!!!
We arrived at the site to find it dry but severely overcast. The first thing we were greeted by was not an Adder but a bleating lamb, it had managed to get wedged behind a water trough in the wrong field to the rest of it’s counterparts. I managed to extract it easily enough and calmed it down enough for a photo then posted it over the fence to be reunited with mum.
After the drama we completed a few circuits of all the familiar piles to reveal no adders at all. However, we stuck it out waiting for the sun to break through which it duly did. Almost immeadiately the first Adder was out a stunningly marked grey male basking in the sun. He was soon joined on the same pile by a much larger pair with a male pestering the female to mate but she was not having any of it and eventually retreated deeper in to the pile. We located another lone male who was soaking up the rays.

Another eventually successful day just showing that determination and patience almost always pays off.

5 Comments

  1. Interesting sightings. Love the little lamb – so sweet next to your adders!

  2. Thanks melissa, was a nice start to the day 'saving' the lamb.

  3. I was born and raised in Bedfordshire and never ever saw a snake, nor did I know they existed at the time. I spent most of my time in the fields and woods. The only experience I ever had was when they found a nest in a kiddies sandbox in the rec at Leagrave Marshes.
    I would have been a bit more cautious no doubt had I known.
    Janice

  4. Hi Janice, thanks for dropping by. I personally haven't found a snake in Bedfordshire either but Luke seems to know a number of secret places!
    He has been in Africa recently. You can catch up on his latest images here http://www.lmasseyimages.com/
    Best wishes
    Mark

  5. i would love to go adder hunting

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