An educational trip down south to further my limited knowledge of all things reptilian also gave me the chance to boost the numerous lists I now seem to be keeping. But first after a rather reptile free site visit to the RSVP reserve of Aylesbeare Common, Devon (one female Adder and a very brief Common Lizard) we were treated to the tutor's 'pets'...
First up a South American Blood Python, not your every day UK reptile. This beast could squeeze out the extra penny from a tight arsed Scotsman. With several female Ecologists present us chaps had to show our coolness as this monster wrapped itself around our various limbs. The first snake I've ever held...phew!
As if that was not enough out comes a Baird's Rat Snake all 1.5m of it...
Reptile course over I headed back up North on the M5 and as the sun was still shining (as it always seems to do down South) a chance to grip one of the UK's rarest Butterflies...Large Blue.
A Butterfly once lost to the countryside from habitat destruction and over collecting has now re-emerged via a re-introduction scheme by The National Trust at the very English hillside of Collard Hill, Somerset.
Timed to perfection I had 10 minutes worth of viewing before the clouds rolled in and managed one record shot before the 'Blues' did their disappearing act in the grass just like Cumbria's Mountain Ringlets.
As Arnie once famously said ''I'll be back'' a cracking place just a stones throw from Glastonbury and its charms. Walking back to the car I ventured along a worn path through a meadow and was about to walk past a rather obvious trampled patch of grass when I noticed a striking Orchid at its extremity. Something told me this wee flower must be something special so out came the camera. Now I know where you think this could be going but NO NEVER!! I'm not starting an Orchid list...honest. Anyway the flower in question was a Greater Butterfly Orchid, what a truly awesome coincidence a mega Butterfly and a mega Orchid on the same Somerset hillside now that's a double to ponder.
Butterflies were on show down on Aylesbeare Common as well and I scored my first Green Hairstreak and Pearl bordered Fritillary.
The local Dartford Warblers were not so obliging and naff record shots were all that was available.