DEAN GREEN TEAM

Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is now the afternoon sunshine and a good area of heathland has been tidied up.

12 February 2008

The morning sunshine illuminates the area which stretches as far as the distant trees. There are a lot of small pools in the area which are ideal for frogs and newts, although it is too early in the year to see any frog spawn.

Common lizard - Lacerta vivipara - Family: Lacertidae

The common lizard is a small reptile averaging about 13cm in length. Females are slightly larger and stockier. The species is very variable in colour but often has an olive green-brown body with marked ridges and a reddish belly. However, individuals can be as dark as a deep-purple brown or as light as a yellowish grey.

Common lizards are generally either completely motionless or moving so fast that they are hard to follow. They are still widespread throughout much of Britain and Ireland, living in grassland, heaths, sandy areas and moors. This lizard feeds on invertebrates and hibernates from October to March.

The female gives birth to live young in July or August. Like other reptiles, common lizards are cold-blooded and rely on the sun's heat to raise their body temperature. They can therefore often be found basking, especially on surfaces which readily absorb and retain heat, such as tree stumps and log piles, large stones and even discarded car tyres!

 

Crabtree Hill FC/GWT Reserve

Grid Ref SO626128

 

This was a return visit to continue keeping the site as heathland and to remove gorse and small birch. The weather was fantastic with sun all day and a temperature of at least 15 degrees centigrade. The day has been noted as the warmest February day ever! We certainly enjoyed the sunshine and all of us had to shed our coats.

There was abundant wildlife in the area - deer droppings, wild boar excavations, a buzzard, a long-tailed tit and a common lizard was seen which is unusual as they usually hibernate until March.

 

Common Lizard

Crabtree Hill in the morning

Crabtree Hill in the afternoon

 

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