Some-fang nearly bit me!

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HERALD & POST -

SNAKES alive! I was sec­onds away from sit­ting on an adder last week.

Hav­ing walked across the moors from In­gleby Green­how, a shel­tered em­bank­ment near Bloworth Cross­ing seemed to be a good place to en­joy lunch.

As I un­loaded my back­pack and pre­pared to sit on the short grass, I re­alised that the adder was di­rectly un­der­neath me and giv­ing me the beady eye.

Nat­u­rally an adder bite on the bum is not to be rec­om­mended.

Re­treat is al­ways the best op­tion in these cir­cum­stances, which gave me the chance to take some pic­tures, in­clud­ing this one.

There are plenty of adders on Cleve­land’s moors though we don’t bump into them all that of­ten.

In fact I’d been on two de­lib­er­ate adder hunts dur­ing the past year or so and failed to spot our only ven­omous snake.

Adders are not ag­gres­sive and only bite when alarmed, or sat on. So, if you do spot one you can ob­serve it safely from a dis­tance – and remember that adders are pro­tected, so must not be harmed or trapped.

Adders usu­ally spend the morn­ing build­ing up their en­ergy be­fore hunt­ing dur­ing the af­ter­noon. They will eat any­thing from mice and voles to lizards and frogs.

They will also take young birds, so this is a par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous time for the nest­ing birds on the moors – and there are plenty of them around.

I was scolded by a few red grouse for en­croach­ing on their ter­ri­tory while it was won­der­ful to see so many golden plovers in their mag­nif­i­cent sum­mer plumage.

Else­where fledglings are up and about ev­ery­where. I’ve seen a mother mallard with 10 duck­lings and also four grey­lag geese pro­tect­ing a gag­gle of 12 goslings.

A fam­ily of fluffy moorhens in front of the cen­tre at RSPB Saltholme made for amus­ing watch­ing, es­pe­cially as they were run­ning around among six young Canada geese.

De­spite the re­cent strong winds, it’s good to see that the orange tip but­ter­flies have taken to the air in de­cent num­bers. Spring can be a dif­fi­cult time to be a but­ter­fly, but maybe not this year.

And the flow­ers con­tinue to shoot up re­gard­less. Our na­tive nod­ding blue­bells make any coun­try walk a de­light while I’ve no­ticed that the rel­a­tively ob­scure ground ivy is grow­ing in some pro­fu­sion this year.

Spring is a won­der­ful time of the year, es­pe­cially when you avoid an un­com­fort­able adder bite.

Eric would like to hear from readers about what they have seen. Email him at eric.pay­lor@gmail.com

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