Thursday, 15 March 2012

Grass snakes and Brimstones at Steyning

male Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni
A blue sky lured me to Steyning Rifle Range for the first time this year. I hoped for a Brimstone and was rewarded with two, a male and a female. On the way to the top of eastern side the hill I spotted two adders, a black one and a brown one. On the western side I spotted the brimstones, and then disturbed a pair of mating grass snakes. They they had been doing their business in sunlight, then the large one, female I assume, dashed into the brambles, dragging the smaller one with her. I managed to spot them several times, still joined, then later I spotted them on their own. The male was dashing around looking for the female and came within a foot of my boots at one point. This wonderful experience was the highlight of my day. A woodpecker drummed constantly. On my way back along the path by the allotments I spotted a peacock butterfly.

I then visited nearby Woods Mill for the first time. This Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve has lovely walks that take in woods, meadow and water. The bird hide gave me a Bank Vole in addition to a variety of birds visiting the feeders. at the end of the rife I saw mating frog.
female Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni
Dunnock, Prunella modularis
Grass snake, Natrix natrix
Grass snake, Natrix natrix

Lesser celandine, Ranunculus ficaria
Peacock, Inachis io
Primroses, Primula vulgaris
Woods Mill reserve:
Bank Vole, Myodes glareolus
Bank Vole, Myodes glareolus
Bank Vole, Myodes glareolus
Blue tit

Frog, Rana temporaria
Frogs, Rana temporaria 
Frog, Rana temporaria
mating Common toads, Bufo bufo
sign of Spring
Long-tailed tit

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