Monday, 29 March 2010


The BBC TV's CountryFile team came to Mersea Island on Monday 29th, to film the creation of a hibernation refuge for snakes and lizards at Cudmore Grove Country Park. This hibernaculum will allow the reptiles to retreat underground in the autumn, gaining access through a handful of plastic pipes that extend down into a pile of logs and brushwood.

Matt Baker one of the programme's presenters, on the left in the photo above, is having the hibernaculum explained to him, by Jon Cranfield of the Essex Amphibian and Reptile Group. The big 5m long pit was dug out last Friday and then all the logs and brushwood were gathered around the edge ready for installing on Monday afternoon. Matt and Jon along with the help of young Shane out of school on official work experience, then filled the hole back up, covering everything with all the soil, leaving a raised bank. This south-facing bank should hopefully be a warm basking spot for the reptiles in the summer, especially when the vegetation has covered it.

The hibernaculum is located in long grass close to where several common lizards and adders have already been seen in the last week. Today one adder was seen although it wasn't the best day to be out sunbathing.

The programme is due to be broadcasted on Sunday 11th April in the early evening when there will also be a feature about Richard Haward and his West Mersea oysters.

On Monday morning there was the unexpected close view of a ringtail hen harrier flying over the car park. It flew swiftly westwards over the neighbouring fields turning northwards near Shop Lane. The song of the chiffchaff could be heard from the trees near the pond.

No comments: