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Sunday 15th April 2007
Old Lodge

Today was destined to be a great day for reptile hunting. Firstly, it was a very hot day for the time of year (25.3oC with Sussex being the hottest place in Britain. It was also the hottest April day since 1949), plus it was just the time that most of the country's reptiles are getting restless after their October - March hibernation. We went to the perfect location for seeing some, Old Lodge Nature Reserve in Ashdown forest. We walked very slowly around the large clumps of gorse hoping to sneak up on a basking snake. The reserve is a very quiet spot and never seems to have many people in it, so it is a very relaxing place. Today we were joined by great spotted woodpeckers, chiffchaffs, tree pipits and linnets.

The gorse was in full flower and we could hear the pods bursting all the time in the background. The smell of coconut oil coming from them flavoured the day.

We quickly realised that the area was alive with common lizards. They were scuttling everywhere at very high speed. These cute little things are also one of the prey foods of the snakes we were searching for.

Eventually we came upon an adder, another female, basking in a shallow dip in a small trail. We didn't get too close as we didn't want to upset her, but after a while she seemed to realise we were there and  moved back into cover. We had got a much better view than we did yesterday. In all, a very successful weekends herpetology!