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A post about posts, and another adder encounter

October 29, 2008

It turned out to be a rather chilly out there today.  Luckily for us, we were working just outside the office, in the wildlife garden at the Urban Wildlife Centre.

Stop leaning on the fence - there's work to do!

Stop leaning on the fence - we have work to do!

Why were we lucky?  Because it meant we were close to the kettle – so plenty of tea was on hand!  Read on to find out what we were doing to the fence…
The wildlife garden at our Urban Wildlife Centre is a great place to sit for lunch, or just for a few minutes to get away from it all (if you can ignore the noise from the concrete factory of course!).  The trouble is, the only space available has always been used as the patrking area for the minibus.   The solution was simple.  Move the minibus, shift the fenceline around, and put in one of the accessible picnic tables.
Sounds easy, and it would have been – had the ground not seen a previous life as a brick yard!   Faye set about getting the existing posts and rails out, I started sawing the ends of the rails – and Anthony got the short straw!  “You have a go at digging the hole for the post” is what I recall glibly saying.  I had just as well said ” You have a go at scraping a hole in the concrete”!   Faye did a good job of sorting the rails out, and the  hit a brick wall with the posts!   They moved around easily enough, and felt like they should just lift straight out – but they were having none of it! 
Noel has a go at the post...

Noel has a go at the post...

Noel eventually decided it was time to show everyone how to do it – and proceeded to spend about half an hour of puffing away before agreeing that it was “really well stuck in”!   Between the four of us though, we finally managed to drag the post out (not too sure who took all the credit for it).

Meanwhile Anthony had been busy trying to pick his way through the brick,flint and gravel that passes for soil in this place – and not getting very far…   He was even less chuffed when we decided that the hole was in the wrong place anyway, so would need filling in and a new one started, about 2 feet to the left!
Anthony digging the hole - before we moved it!

Anthony digging the hole - before we moved it!

It was all hands to the task for this bit as we took it in turns to dig the hole, using a range of tools that included a very heavy metal bar – which proved to be very effective. 
It must be serious - even I had a go!

It must be serious - even I had a go!

Eventually we had reached our target depth and whacked the post in.  It was time for a break….  The sun was out, albeit a bit weak – why not take a wander onto the heath to see what we could find?

Anthony and Faye were keen to see some reptiles, so we went for a look out on some known adder haunts…  I did see one briefly, before it scooted away into the heather.  Frustratingly for them, neither caught a glimpse.   A short distance further on, and I noticed a common lizard basking under some gorse.  Everyone managed to see this, and while we were pleased to see the lizard, we were hoping for something bigger. 
Sure enough, another 20 yards or so, and there was a female adder! 
The adder was on the path just ahead of us....

The adder was on the path just ahead of us....

She was making steady progress along the path, seemingly unconcerned at our presence – though I guess she was pretty cold so was a bit lethargic anyway.  We all had great views of her, and, because she was so lethargic, I was able to put my snake handling training to good use. 

Up close and personal with an Adder - don't try this!

Up close and personal with an Adder - do not try it yourself!

She seemed to be quite content to be supported while we got some close views of this fantastic heathland predator.  We didn’t keep her long though, letting her make her way off into the heath again, as we headed back to the Office for – you’ve guessed it! – another cup of tea!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2008 11:51 pm

    Brilliant pics of the adder. We are going to have to start calling you “Adder Man” soon Steve! (you will have your own TV show and everything!). Especially love the last picture – stunning! Jane

  2. October 30, 2008 12:02 am

    It is a great pic isn’t it? Courtesy of Anthony – I was at the other end of the adder. There are pics of me with her – but I don’t look convincing as an ‘Adder Man’ to say the least!

  3. Chris S permalink
    October 31, 2008 11:09 pm

    Wow! fantastic photos. Hope they’re now in Jane’s collection in Brooklands.
    The one of you actually working is good too Steve!! 😉

  4. November 2, 2008 3:38 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Yes, it’s not often I get caught working by the camera these days!!

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