We have recently received a grant from the Nineveh Charitable Trust to expand volunteer recording across the Lower Windrush and have now launched the Lower Windrush Valley Reptile Survey Group. Initially, ten volunteers have been recruited to survey four sites across the valley between April and October. These include Rushy Common nature reserve and three allotment sites.
Allotments have a diversity of habitats which is ideal for reptiles. Bare earth and debris provide plenty of basking spots; long grass provides areas to forage; and compost heaps provide somewhere to hibernate and lay eggs. Reptiles are generally active between March to October. Areas that will be particularly attractive to reptiles are:
• Embankments and mounds
• Logs, brash piles
• Stoney areas with crevices eg. dry stone walls
• Paths or clearings in denser vegetation
• Edge of bramble patches and grassy areas
• Compost heaps, grass cuttings
An online training session with Oxfordshire Amphibian Reptile Group (OxARG) took place on at the beginning of April and during the last week we have been laying down reptile refugia and familiarising the volunteers with their sites.
We’ll use the records collected this year to help us select sites for future years and identify locations for habitat creation.
|Juvenile Common lizard|