You might have expected this blog post to be all about the Upton Heath fire. After all, it has pretty much taken over my life in recent weeks, organising the simply magnificent volunteering efforts, as well as trying to catch up with all the work that backed up while we were all out rescuing reptiles. No, I have decided against it, at least for now. I’m preparing a PowerPoint presentation on it all, and may well blog after the first delivery of it. For now, I’m giving it a miss – it’s been a difficult time dealing with it and for now I’m going to leave it alone.
Anyway, this week I finally managed to make time for a couple of days off work. A check up at the Dentist meant a trip to Boscombe anyway, and with the rest of the day ahead of me I decided it was high time for another lizard safari on the cliffs there.
I have to say, over that last couple of years or so I have become more and more a fan of reptiles. Wild ones of course. I love the challenge of searching them out and getting some half decent pictures of them. They are really fascinating to watch, and as you’ll see very soon – some of them are amazingly coloured!
I could regale you with stories of how I walked up and down various paths, and stealthily made my way through blocks of gorse – but I’m not convinced it would make particularly good reading so will refrain from entering into full journalism mode.
There were three types of lizard on show. Common lizards are resident to UK and found pretty much anywhere with a bit of rough ground.
Wall lizards are an introduced species that are now well established along quite a bit of Dorset coastline, including the Purbecks, Portland and of course Boscombe.
Finally, the beast. The Western Green lizards are another introduced species that are thriving on the cliffs at Boscombe – and only there. They are hugely impressive reptiles, and a number of people who stopped to ask me what I was photographing were staggered to see such a brightly coloured lizard sat in the scrub. “Just like a toy!” was uttered on a number of occasions..
I’ll let the lizards do the talking now. Not literally of course. They didn’t actually say anything, and even if they did I don’t talk lizard so wouldn’t have a clue what they were saying. To top it all, you wouldn’t believe me anyway! Anyway, here are a few images of the dudes..
My previous search for the greens was earlier this year, when I managed to locate one male and one female. On the ‘day of the dentist’ as it will be known forevermore, I tracked down the same number, before my day was cut short due to a sudden heavy downpour that sent me scurrying back to the car. I hadn’t got much of a shot of a male green though so returned the next day – and was rather pleased to this time see 9 of them! 6 males and 3 females was certainly far more than I imagined I’d find..
Most of them were relatively difficult to get close to. One of them however, forgot to read that bit of the book about how to be a Green lizard. I spotted it from about 15 feet, and carefully stalked up to it – until I was stood right next to it while it continued to just lie in the sun, completely at ease with the world. It was even happy to doze off while I got some pretty close shots of it. He didn’t pick a secluded spot either. He was sprawled out on the gorse on the edge of the main path, right in the eyeline of everybody walking by. He was one relaxed dude, and stayed there for well over an hour, with a steady stream of admirers passing by.
I’m rather glad they aren’t all like that, as I do like a challenge when searching for animals – but it is good to get one to sit that still, for that long while I have my camera with me!