Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Trip Down South!

Along with a good friend (who was driving) I endured horrendous traffic, which meant it took four hours to reach our destination in Dorset and with heavy fog most of the way it appeared that we would probably be travelling back without the photographs we were after.
However, optimistic as always and nearing our location the sun broke through the fog and it turned into the perfect day for the rare reptile species we were after; the Sand Lizard!

NOTE: The Sand Lizard is protected under, Schedule 2 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (1994), and Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

With the help of some very trusting and friendly locals, it was only a few minuets before I was face to face with my first sand lizard. I must admit that I was shocked to have found one so quickly, but without the help of our local friends it would have taken a lot longer as they are so well camouflaged.

First find!

This was great, except it was not the best of shots due to the bush it was basking under, so we moved on.
I had never seen a sand lizard in the wild before, so as far as I was concerned this was about as good as it was going to get. How wrong I was as just around the corner our luck changed!

This fella was out in the open making the most of the blazing sun!

There were at least six lizards in one location and it was hard picking one to photograph.

The one thing that astounded me was the fact that they were all very curious and even came up to the camera!
The sand lizard, as mentioned above, is very rare and also extremely protected so the last thing I wanted to do was to disturb them. This concerned me on the way to Dorset, but I was gobsmacked at how relaxed these lizards were with our presence.

It's always nice to get two different species in one shot, but when I got up on this morning I couldn't of imagined that I would be photographing a sand lizard, with a ladybird walking around next to him!

We left this site and headed out onto some heathland where we saw a nice male adder. I missed this opportunity, but something even more special was just around the corner.
A male sand lizard!

We left the locals and headed to another spot where there was a chance of photographing another species, which I had not captured previously; Sika Deer.

Not knowing what to expect and ready for the stalk I followed my friend to some open grassy areas, surrounded by woodland. Now these deer are wild, they are not on an estate, or privately owned, so I was again wondering if we were going to succeed!
We spotted some on the edge of the woodland in the grassy area and proceeded to crawl towards them.

I photographed this fella at ground level and the blur in the foreground is grass.

At this point we were almost in the middle of the grassy area when a hind walked up to check us out!

Then two young stags started squaring up to one another!

As you can imagine, I took quite a few pics of these deer, but we still had one more place to visit before we left. The coast.

I'm not the best when it come to identifying birds, so if I have some of these wrong please let me know and I will correct.
And please note: Photo's taken from cliff top!

Bar-Tailed Godwit

Black-Headed Gull

Black-Winged Stilt

Little Egret

Not bad for 5 hours work!


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