We went to Keyhaven this morning as I was getting sea withdrawal symptoms. The sun shone and it was hot (22 degrees). M went swimming, Poppy considered it but the swish swash of the water against the pebbles on the beach put her off and Ted sat on the edge of the water woofing at M to please be careful and can you get out soon in fact, Dad? L made me feel sick by jumping from one enormous flood-defence boulder to another. These have huge bloody great cracks to fall down/ break legs on and he does this every time we visit, knowing full well that I hate it. To soothe my nerves I took photos of Turnstones (love them) and made a small pebble tower (obligatory) and generally enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my skin........
When we got home I gave both the dogs a bath. They are now white, fluffy and generally sweet smelling, which is not like them at all. Teddy threw me a reproachful look while I was drying him off as if asking why did you have to do that? while Pop made a bee-line straight for the back door in a very obvious attempt to escape into the garden and thereby roll in earth or pigeon poo. I was too quick for her though and got there first, shutting the door so she couldn't get out. She was furious.
L hates baths or anything to do with personal hygiene in general (classic teenage water aversion) and usually whinges about having to run the bath too. Sunday is bath and hair wash night here, so after I'd shampooed the dogs I called down to say he could have an early bath if he wanted because there was one already run. For some reason, he wasn't keen......
After all that excitement, we went blackberrying to some late-flowering brambles we found in a hedgerow by a field while we were walking the dogs last weekend. The farmer has cut the hedge in the interval, but there were still two tub's worth. Some of these will be going into my new paleo berry burst breakfast smoothie tomorrow.....
Remember the Grass Snake eggs the dogs discovered in the compost heap earlier in the year? That was back in July and you can read about it HERE. Well, this little person is a baby Grass Snake and it is very likely that he came from that self-same batch of eggs which I rescued and reburied in the hope they'd be OK.
Grass Snakes are declining in the UK and it is reasonably unusual to see them, largely because they are so sensitive to ground tremours they are usually off long before you get close enough to spot them. I did see an adult this summer but it was dying, and last year of course we had the enormous but graceful Samantha Helvetica sunning herself in the veg patch over several days. I've never seen a baby before though. Not until this afternoon. They are BAP listed and protected by UK law which makes it an offence to kill or sell them.
I was extremely careful picking this little one up and in the end he didn't want to get off my hand (probably because it was warm) but he did show us the Famous Grass Snake Lunge, a feint that they do to warn off predators. They mimic a poisonous snake's lunge as if they are about to bite. As I put the camera closer he drew his head up and struck forward suddenly in a very convincing bite feint. Grass Snakes have no venom, so this is their main protection strategy. I've never seen it in the wild before as Samantha used to just turn tail and flee when she saw us, so I was most impressed that this baby used it.
Note the prominence of the yellow collar immediately behind his head- this instantly tells you this is a Grass Snake rather than a poisonous adder. I've not seen such a prominent collar before- the adults we get here are usually much paler. Isn't he sweet?
I am SO thrilled he is here and that the refugia is doing it's job of providing a safe haven for these dear little souls. Next to him (which made me smile, considering their relationship as adults is as predator and prey) was a tiny weeny baby toad.... I've seen quite a few of these in recent weeks under the refugia which is Good News.
Also out and about in the garden today....
|Carder bee on Cornflower|
|Nettle Tap moth on Cosmos|
|And at last! The Blue Pimpernels sown this Spring have decided to flower|
All in all a good day.
I'll leave you with a pic of the two doggy people who are tired after their various excursions (not to mention their bath). The moth box is out tonight so I should have some lovely autumn moths to share with you all this week.
Wishing you all a peaceful evening,