Monday, 20 April 2009

Racing snakes and slower worms

An all-too-brief lunch-time wander around Fackenden Down reserve in the Darenth valley, with the Green Man as guide, provided much to see but also much that was too quick to be snapped.
Greenie tried to find adders and grass snakes for me, but although we saw three of the former (two males and a female) they quickly slithered away before I could get near. Very sensible of them.

There were, however, plenty of slowworms living up to their name.

Above, a male, a female (with the dark line) and a youngster.

Also slow enough for me to catch were Roman snails, also known as Burgundy or edible snails or indeed escargots, about 2" across. This species is perhaps surprisingly not found in Kent east of Ashford - surprising because there were plenty of Romans in east Kent. Maybe they ate all of them.
Another species not found in the Kingsdown area is crosswort, which coincidentally appears right next to wild madder (see yesterday's post) in my flora bible.

There were a few quicker beasts that I managed to photograph - a tiny common lizard,

grizzled skipper

orange tip

and a strange moth - any ideas anybody?

Many thanks to Greenie for his time, expert assistance, and patience at my clumsy attempts at seeing the beasts that he had carefully found.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kingsdowner. Your mystery moth looks like Ancylis unculana.

Greenie said...

Steve ,
Dean's ID of the moth is spot on for species . I showed a shot of a similar specimen to an'expert' and he put Ancylis badiana on it , but I'm not going to argue , especially in Latin .
Can I change my mind on the Vetch we found not in flower . I'm going for Sainfoin now , and I promise I won't change my mind again .
Glad the Grizzled Skipper came out well .

Anonymous said...


Both species are quite similar, but "unculana" has a more chestnut colouration. Just like your specimen.

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for the ID, Dean.

Mary said...

I had no idea what a slowworm is until I googled it. I don't think we have them here. Looks like a snake to me! The skippers are all very pretty...I like that first one and the mystery one both.

Phil and Mandy said...

lovely photos, like the slow worms

The Wildlife Gardener said...

Hi Steve, where is a good place to see slowworms in the Woldingham/Godstone/Oxted area? They are my wildlife holy grail for this summer.

Kingsdowner said...

Ruth, when I spent my years in your area I knew little and learned less - try clicking on Greenie's name, as he's the master and lives near you - he'll probably find you some snakes too!

Ruth The Wildlife Gardener said...

Hi Steve, I've done just that.