Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads


#SciFri: May Project Update 2021

It’s that time of year again when I make my annual pilgrimage to Norfolk, in the attempt to catch as many grass snakes as I can. You’ll be glad to know that I have made it here nice and early this year (compared to last) and I’ve been busy on site, replacing some of the cover objects that were damaged over the winter months due to the site being flooded. Some of you may remember my post on Instagram all the way back in September, when I commented on the fact that the last day on site was cold and miserable. Well, not much changed over the coming months and with the additional rain, some areas of the site were under a significant amount of water for several months! Thankfully grass snakes can swim and by that point, they should have all reached higher ground in an attempt to find somewhere to hibernate. It is the fallout from this however, that I have been dealing with recently.

I’ve spent the past few days ferrying around new cover objects (above), to replace the old ones (below). Unfortunately, due to the terrain I’ve had to do this by hand with a wheelbarrow. The last thing I’d want to do is risk getting a vehicle grounded or stuck on one of the tracks, as they are still quite the hazard – I almost very nearly got the wheelbarrow stuck in a short portion of the worst section of quagmire. Despite, wind, rain, hail and the some sunshine, I have been able to replace all of the old and knackered cover objects, leaving them in a couple of piles around the site. Once they’ve had a chance to dry out, I’ll give them a decent clean and disinfect them before they can be safely disposed of at the local tip.

Whilst out and about on site, I have seen a few snakes which is promising. However, due to the cold start to the year there aren’t as many as I would have liked to have seen. This is probably a good thing as the recent wet weather means some of the site is flooding again and with more rain on the way, it may be a while until I can begin my surveys. I just hope that when I do get the chance to begin my structured surveys, the snakes are there and playing game. Only time will tell I guess. For now, all I can do is wait patiently for the rains to come and go but in the meantime, I’m going to use this opportunity to continue to get some writing done. Please keep an eye out on social media using the hashtag #CranwichSnakes if you want to follow my updates from the field.

I’ve tried something new with those post, and embedded photos from Instagram. If you thought this worked well, please let me know. If it hasn’t really worked, then I shall go back to uploading my images to WordPress as before.

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