Monday 5th March 2012 - Wyre Forest (Worcs)

Today I popped out with Tony for a couple of hours to the nearby Wyre Forest (quite possibly my favourite wild place in Worcestershire).  Having attended the Worcestershire Recorders annual meeting on Saturday and listening to an informed talk on the Adders of the Wyre I decided to go and have a look see if I could catch up with one of these locally endangered reptiles.  This time of year the males are laying out near their hibernacula and basking in the early Spring sun.

On commencing our journey down the disused railway line we bumped into Mark ( who was just completing a walk there.  As we stood nattering I noticed nearby some Yellow Brain Fungi growing on an old dry stem of Dog Rose.  We left Mark to head back to his car and continued our walk.  Along the railway embankment we came across a huge Wood Ants nest that was very active in the late morning sunshine.  

Not long afterwoods we bumped into fellow local birder/wildlife enthusiast 'Kinver Jim' who joined us for our search for Adders.  I'm not going to post any locations/site specifics folks for fear of disturbance due to the sensitive nature of this locally declining species.  Needless to say it wasn't long before I managed to locate a stunning ♂ Adder basking in the sun.  We watched from a distance using the close focus on our binoculars and then moved on.

We headed to the bridge at Lodge Hill Farm next where 2 Common Buzzards were up soaring. Also seen from here were a ♂ Siskin, a number of Goldfinch, a Goldcrest and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

We then parted ways with Jim and headed through Knowles Coppice and back along Dowles Brook.  In the coppice we had great views of a Redwing perched lowdown in a nearby tree.  On the brook we saw a single Dipper.  4 Song Thrush were also noted. 

♂ Adder - 5th March 2012

Click on image to enlarge

Yellow Brain Fungus (Tremella Mesenterica)

Click on YouTube logo to enlarge


  1. Agree, has become my favourite local location, I didn't fancy looking for Snakes on my own !!

  2. A good read Jason. I have looked for Adders but without success, well done on your find and super pic of the basking Adder! The Wood Ants always make me feel itchy after coming across them, an amazing sight to see though.

  3. One of these days, i`ll get to see an Adder. Im very envious in that respect, Jason.

  4. Great to find the Adder, I've only seen two both last year!

  5. Nice to see Spring moving on again Jase, after that cold spell. No Adders here anymore, but I live in hope :-)

  6. Hi Jason, my birding time has been limited more recently but back in fray now! Have just trawled your blog for a catch up! Great stuff on the Adder and as ever I love the diversity of your blog!

    Simply couldn't get my head around the stuff I missed in your previous posts! "Pitchoo" sorry I think I'm getting a cold ;)

  7. Mark - The Wyre is a magical place through all four seasons. Its a large remaining fragment of medieval forest and we are so lucky to have it just a few miles up the road!

    Pam - Although Ive seen a number of Adders in the New Forest (Hampshire), this is only the first one that I have managed to see in The Wyre

    Dean - Cheers mate...they are stunning creatures. Any lowland heath in your part of Yorkshire?

    Alan - Thanks. I think you will agree, its a privalidge to see them

    Warren - the last couple of sunny Spring days have really lifted my spirits mate. Should hopefully get something interesting pn our respective patches over the next week

  8. Jason, the nearest Adders to where i am are quite a few miles away, on Thorne Moor. It`s an old peat working site on the other side of Doncaster.

  9. Great stuff Jason. Looking forward to seeing some Adders myself soon.

  10. Keith - Glad to hear you are getting back out there. As for the previous posts...well the whole Marshgate thing came to a head last night when an upton regular posted a reactive comment on the blog. I think I have put it to bed =on hear now...but have a look at the 2nd of March comments to see the latest. As for that sneeze...have you got hayfever mate?

    Dean - Its a shame that Adders seem to be struggling outside the South and South East of the country. It may be worth an away day to those peat moors soon!

    Phil - Thanks mate...keep those eyes peeled the males should be laying out during the next week or two before the shed their skin

  11. Goodness! I was dreaming last night that I was trying to photograph an Adder and the camera shutter button wouldn't work and I was gutted....dreaming about sad is that? ;-) Well done Jason, I haven't seen one for a long time. A wise man not to reveal the location I think.

    By the way my sidebar shows a 'Marshgate' update but it doesn't seem to be here, maybe you withdrew it?

  12. Hi Jan - Dreaming about adders!!! I gues it more interesting than counting sheep! Yes I though it was bet to be non-specific about the snake's location.

    As for 'Marshgate', I did post an update but decided to pull it as I feel that I have said all that I really wanted to on the matter. Thought it was time to move on

  13. When I was a kid, used to live not far from the Wyre Forest and saw Adders near my home, but rarely in the forest itself.Do you think management of the woods (like opening out glades) has helped?
    Well done finding one.

  14. Hi Mike - A lot of work has been done over recent years to try and halt the decline of Adders in the Wyre. There main problem is that it is a so called 'island population' and very limited to the Wyre and its outskirts. This can lead to a lack of fresh DNA in the gene pool. Another problem can be predation by Pheasants (honestly!) and with large numbers being released locally this has had an efect on the numbers of young snakes and there prey species such as Common Lizard. Heavy mechanised management of the forest can also be a problem.

    That said areas of the forest such as Town Coppice have had parts fenced off and grazed by cattle which leaves large areas of bracken for the addres to lay out on. The bracken rhizomes act as a heat source for the snakes this time of year. So to finally answer your question I think yes work done in the Wyre is helping the Adder

  15. Thanks for the info. The bit about the Pheasants surprised me. Didn't know about the bracken rhizomes either, but the land where I used to see them had lots of bracken and sunny grassy slopes where there were lizards.