A CANARG member visited this site following the push to find Adder in Cheshire this year. The site was regarded as still favourable but no Adders were seen. Dave Morris, the National Trust warden was probably the last observer of Adder at this site in 2007 but he hadn’t given up hope that they were still present and sure enough in September 2012 a lady walking at Bickerton observed and then photographed a female Adder as it crossed her path.
Any event in the UK with an element of field activity gambles with the weather, and this was no different, though today the gamble paid off. This popular event held at Risley Moss SSSI had the usual CAN mix of good tutelage, great venue and enthusiastic attendees and staff. After being treated to a powerpoint presentation by leader Matt Wilson, the group had superb encounters with eight of the county’s herptiles. The reptiles proved the biggest hit and had wonderful encounters with Adder, Comon Lizard and Slow Worm following a brief break in the weather. This excelled expectations for the day. A big thanks to herpers Matt and Carl, and to indefatigable rangers Mark and Gaynor, and finally to Warrington Borough Council and Natural England for allowing the event to take place.
The following is a description from the Dumfries Herald in 1859 of an encounter between an Adder and a Weasel:-
FIGHT BETWEEN AN ADDER AND A WEASEL
Two or three parties – a farmer and servant, – came on an adder and a weasel at drawn daggers, on a spot behind Craignair quarries, Buittle. The weasel was the aggressive party very evidently, and the adder acted purely on the defensive. The weasel now inflicted a wound immediately behind the adder’s head, then retired cautiously, studying his opportunity. Again he attacked the adder’s tail, and then its back, and in this manner kept up a hot fight. The adder was evidently willing to wound, and indulged in twistings and convolutions ; but the weasel was too adroit for him in his flank and front movements. The parties saw them fight it out, and took up the adder (the weasel having left the field) quite dead, and his back riddled with weasel bites.
Just been looking through some pics from Warrington and realised that this herp, that has been living wild and free for years, wasn’t the one I expected it to be…what is it? I’ll tell you on Sun. Well done Paul Quigley, it is Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta
One of the lessons learnt from forestry operations in the last few deades is the potential loss of habitat for invertebrates by ‘tidying’ up the deadwood. A sort of deadwood windrow is being created here by Bill, Clive and Sam during a session at Rocksavage. This corridor of deadwood provides connectivy between the northern and southern compartments of the reserve for herps and mammals; it also provides a habitat for invertebrates such as beetles, woodlice, slugs and snails to name but a few. Rocksavage Nature Reserve provides a valuable resource for CAN courses.