Friday, 30 April 2010
I see loads of snakes at this time of year. Any warm day will have them out basking and there are areas where I can just about guarantee a sighting. However it's not every day you get to see a pair mating. I came across that very thing this morning and felt I just had to get a pic for all you out there in Webland. Unfortunately my stealthy approach wasn't stealthy enough and I disturbed them. It turned out there were three- the happy couple and another male who was an innocent bystander- without the innocence. Or the ability to stand, for that.
Be that as it may, the males (snake-)skinned out without a backwards glance ("I'll ring you later." Har) leaving the female hissing with anger. Or frustration. If she were a cobra, she'd have been spitting.
Disappointed, I continued on my way only to find a second pair hard at it 50 yards further on. My delight- although not matching theirs- increased as I managed to get in good and close (not a phrase in common usage when it comes to snakes)and get some shots. They were not put off their stride (eh?!) one bit and I marvelled at the effort they were putting into it. All that was missing was the third rate seventies backing music. Unbidden, the old chestnut sprang to mind:-
"Do you smoke after sex?"
"I don't know- I've never looked."
Barely an hour later I was treated to another rare spectacle. I was sitting quietly spying for crows along a rocky, tree-lined face when a heard a 'whoosh' above me. I looked up just in time to see a Merlin grab a pipit out of the air, 25 feet above my head. Within a couple of seconds it had disappeared around the corner, leaving only a little cloud of tiny feathers hanging in the air.
So you'll not be getting any pics of that.
And another short while after that I came across a herd of deer at really close range. I froze where I was and managed a few shots before an eddy in the wind put them away. Unfortunately my 'point-and-press' camera still gave the impression they were in the next county.
Oh, and if you're wondering how we got on last night, I got to my bed at 4am with the distinct impression that it wasn't the fox that was bamboozled. Foxes-1, Keepers-0.