Reptile Reminisces

Although the Revealing Reptile Project came to an end last September and we sadly had to say goodbye to the wonderful project officer that was John Grundy (wildlife gardener, expert scyther and reptile guru) the project legacy runs on. One of the many outcomes of the 2 years, was the production of a “revealing” booklet which mapped the distribution of our three common reptiles, the adder, common lizard and slow worm. These distribution maps are the result of volunteers recording many sightings over the two years and is, as a result, a valuable database of information providing an indication on how these reptiles are faring in County Durham.

“It is important that these recorded sightings continue,” said Anne Porter who is now overseeing the project “as they give us real data on what is happening to our reptiles in the face of climate change and changes in land management.”

Anne is encouraging everyone who is out and about this summer to keep an eye fixed to the ground in case you are lucky enough to spot one of these very elusive creatures. There is an online recording form which is very simple to use – click on the link below or copy and paste it into the address bar – this will take you to the page to record your sightings.

Many wonderful volunteers have been involved in the project and over the coming months it is hoped to convey a small insight into the highs and lows of surveying for reptiles from their first-hand experience and their own words.

Elaine has kindly started us off:

“Drove to Blanchland and after parking in the main village car park, we turned left to start the walk up the track towards Pennypie House. This track is so familiar to us – it’s been the start of many long walks over the years. Today though, the mileage has been deliberately cut short. We were focusing on spotting reptiles…… and we weren’t disappointed. On a sunny embankment, we encountered a lizard soaking up the warmth. We’ve used this track so many times, ‘tuned’ into the nature around us but never purposely looking for reptiles. We must have missed out on seeing so many of them in the past. Yet, with just a little patience and a slower step on a warm day like today, we were rewarded with the sight of not just one of these beautiful reptiles but six in total.”