Saturday, 16 April 2011

Male Adder (Vipera berus)

Can we teach ourselves patience? I ask because – for someone whose passion is wildlife photography – I have very little. Having captured some pretty poor shots of my first Water Vole [see previous post] I was determined to use the light of a beautiful Norfolk morning to get some decent shots. I found a likely spot, sat down, camera and binoculars in hand, amid the grass and reeds and waited. I heard again the distinctive 'plop' in the water somewhere, but the vole was nowhere to be seen. To pass the time, I took mediocre shots of a passing Moorhen and a couple of geese grazing on the bank. After 30 minutes, however, I could wait no longer and decided to hunt for adders instead. I drove to where I have always found them before and, for nearly an hour, I scoured the favourite basking spots that have always delivered in the past. This time, however, I saw not a single specimen and – somewhat dejected at what was becoming a wasted morning – I decided to leave. Then, as I neared the car, I heard a father and son excitedly discussing the fact that they thought they had "seen a snake". Warmed by the glorious sunshine, the adders had clearly left the cover of gorse to hunt in the adjacent conifer wood. I then saw a line of olive and black disappear into the leaves and twigs of the undergrowth and, luckily, just managed to get ahead of it. This Adder then took pity on a photographer with very little of note on his CF card – as I got closer it didn't flee into cover, but stayed put. Indeed I had to move quite quickly on a couple of occasions as it seemed quite content to move towards me rather than away as I lay on the ground. No patience on my part, then, but a lucky break and I was able to get what I think are some worthwhile shots of this majestic reptile…

All Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 70-200mm lens


  1. Its never a waste of time Tim, even if you don't see anything :-) You got some good photo's in the end though !

  2. You are, of course, absolutely right Warren. An hour by an idyllic stream in the Norfolk sunshine – even without Ratty – is still better than being cooped up indoors.

  3. I like very much the head on shots Tim.
    I tend to stand a safe distance behind my tripod at a safe distance!