Saturday, 20 April 2013

On my Belly for Snakes, Oil and Wild Tigers!

A good day today, a saturday and the sun is shining, usual shop then out with the camera.  first stop trying to photograph my Grass Snakes mating.  So arrived at the spot set the tripod up got comfortable waited for half an hour, nothing not even a rustle in the grass.  However, a common shrew made an appearance as did a big Dog Fox that made me jump as it sneaked up on me to take a look at what I was doing.  However perseverance paid off as a big female grass snake appeared with a smallish male in tow.  I estimate the female at 4 going on 5 foot in length whilst the male might have made 18 inch to 2 foot.   However they refused to get in a good position for photographing. The best I could do is what you see,  the back of the female and the male sidled up by the side of her.  At least the photograph gives an impression of the relative sizes of the two snakes.  The little lad likes a big lady so to speak.  
Not the most exciting of photographs but shows two grass snakes making sweet music, Nottinghamshire April 2013. 
I also include a photograph taken on the same day of a nice little snake posing for the camera. This one was like a big bootlace, about 18 inch in length. 
Not the best photographs I have ever taken. Once I got home about 12ish I realised that my camera settings had been altered. I almost always photograph using aperture priority.  These were taken on some preset, probably landscape!  Note had to lie on my belly to get this shot. 

After a quick sandwich and adrink I wanted to make the most of the good spring weather so a trip to Budby Heath up sherwood way was in order.  The target, a yearly trip to see Oil Beetles, Meloe proscarabeus, My wife found them there a bout 3 years ago.  Below are a group of photographs showing a rather large female digging a hole in which to lay her eggs.  And guess what, I was lying on my belly again this time in the middle of a public footpath. Still I'm reasonably happy with photographs. 

Finally you can't go on Budby Heath in April or May without looking for one of my all time favourites, the Tiger Beetle, Cicindela campestris. Look for bare sand along the main paths, watch for insects flying up in front of you and follow the until they land.  Sneak up on them they're probably a Tiger Beetle avoiding your foot.  Also shown is a Tiger Beetle Larva, these bad boys eat ants that stray into their hole.  Fantastically designed, the head acts as a stopper.  To get them out I wiggle a bit of dried grass in the entrance to their hole, they can't resist coming to have a look. And guess what, I was on my belly when Photographing this larva. 
Tiger Beetle Larva, Budby Heath April 2013 

Adult Tiger Beetle, Budby Heath April 20th 2013


  1. Hi Adrian, great post again thanks Adrian, tried to work out how to send an email here but not sure, can you let me know? Was out and about Saturday as well, it was beautiful, air was ringing with skylark song. Good for butterflies too, several brimstone and small tortoiseshell. I also saw what I thought was a meadow brown on farmland (it was quite small and single brownish colour but at distance), I did think it too early in the year though. Not seen many hares around yet. Thanks, Jim.

  2. Jim not quite sure how you email on this blog, i think I'll have to look that one up. Thanks for positive comments, bit early for Meadow Browns, could it have been a comma? Keep an eye out on the blog for an email link. Cheers Adrian