April is widely known to be one of the best months for snakes as they become more active without being too hot and hypercharged. It is also a time to look for mates and rivals! I have spent several days at a South Yorkshire site trying to get some images. It is quite difficult because the habitat which snakes love if full of twigs and other distractions. I thought I would try and use this to my advantage to try and give a shot the feeling of the habitat.
This cracking female was particularly obliging – note the frosty eye may indicate that a she is due to shed her skin.

This head only shot really captures the character of adders in my opinion. It was the kind of shot I was after.
There was plenty of action, and this female had not gone unnoticed by some rampant males. This male was in attendance.
But, it was this darker male that went for the female, and the adders ‘danced’ for the next hour.
As if that wasn’t enough action a Grass Snake nearly wandered across the wrong path. Here you can just about see the grasss snake and adder in the same shot. A stand off ensued for what felt like several minutes. Both snakes tasting the air until the grass snake finally backed down and slinked off.

Going Dutch

I was recently contacted by award winning, UK based, Dutch photographer Rene De Heer as he wanted to get to grips with Yorkshire’s Grouse. 
What a morning we had! The light was perfect as we headed across some of North Yorkshire’s finest moors at sunrise. It was good to share tips and stories with Rene and I am sure we will plan another trip hopefully for Bluethroats in Rene’s homeland next Spring.

Behind you Rene!!

Hunting for Reptiles!

The first warm days of spring are often sufficient to wake up our scaly (not slimy!) friends. A common misconception is that hot days in Summer are best. However, on those days these cold blooded crackers warm up fast and scuttle away long before we get to see them. From now until May will be the best time as males look for females and as the metabolism is slow to speed up they are not so good a getting away.
As with all wildlife just spotting them can become a science in itself – look at these cryptic dragons.





Once you find one, move in slowly. Let them get used to the shutter and the shape of the lens, and you can be lucky enough to have memorable encounter. This Common Lizard was most obliging.