Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Snakes In Bulgaria 5. Adder

The Adder is a venomous snake that is extremely common and can be found throughout most of Western Europe and East Asia. They are not listed as super dangerous, and are not aggressive but they will bite when they feel alarmed or disturbed. Apparently there bites are extremely painful. They feed on small mammals, insects, birds, lizards, amphibians and sometimes worms and spiders. Females breed once every two or three years with litters commonly being born in late Summer to early April. Females usually hatch 5-20 snakes who will stay with there mothers for two or three days before leaving. The adder is not considered to be threatened, but is protected in some country's. There usually found in rocky hillsides or chalky downs but also will be found in meadows and edges of wood.


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Friday, 9 March 2018

Snakes In Bulgaria 4. Dice snake - Natrix tessellata

Dice Snake
The Dice snake is a non-venomous European snake specie and is one of the most common snake species in Bulgaria. They are water snakes and will spend most of there time in or around water. They mainly feed on fish. It's an averaged sized snake growing up to a meter long, females tend to be larger then males. If felt threatened instead of biting, just like grass snakes they will release a horrible smell, although in my opinion the grass snakes it 2x worse. There's a video at the end of the blog of some of the Dice snakes I have caught. The Dice snakes back is usually dark green with black patterns over it, they have a beautiful bright red underbelly which you can see in my video.








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Saturday, 3 March 2018

Hawfinch

Hawfinch
The Hawfinch is one of the largest finches in Europe with an overall length of 18 cm and a wing span that ranges from 29-35 cm. This striking bird is found all over Europe and Asia. It's a woodland bird that will often be spotted on fruit trees. It feeds on hard seeds from trees and fruit using it's super strong beak to open up hazelnuts and walnuts. Males and females are very similar, but the males are normally larger.  Usually breeding in late April, the female will lay 4-5 eggs and will wait 13 days for the eggs to hatch. They have a short lifespan of around 4 years old, although interestingly, one Hawfinch managed to live for 12 years and 7 months in Germany!! Although they are one of the rarest birds in the UK, there are a whopping 13 million individuals in Europe!


Hawfinch in flight - My uncle took this picture (UK

Link to my uncles blog: http://peteralfreybirdingnotebook.blogspot.bg/



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Saturday, 24 February 2018

Snakes In Bulgaria 3. Smooth Snake - Coronella austriaca


The Smooth Snake is a non-venomous specie found in northern and central Europe. They are a small snake specie only growing up to 60-75 cm long. Females grow larger then males. The Smooth Snake is the rarest reptile in the UK.They emerge during March/April when males will start competing for females. Females don't lay eggs, they give birth to 4-12 live snakes. They mainly feed on other reptiles such as lizards, but sometimes will eat rodents and invertebrates to. They are constrictors, meaning they squeeze the life out of there pray then swallow it. A lot of people mistake them for adders and unfortunately they get killed by humans quite often. I have lots of videos of me holding and catching Smooth Snakes, the video is at the end of the blog if you would like to see it. They can bite if felt threatened but luckily it's a weak bite and will not hurt more then a thorn.



Video of Smooth snakes that I caught ;)


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Friday, 23 February 2018

Snakes In Bulgaria 2. Caspian Whip Snake - Dolichophis caspius



The Caspian Whip Snake Is the largest snake in Europe growing up to 2 meters long, the record size is 250cm!! It is a non - venomous specie but is also the most aggressive snake in Europe and will bite non stop until it's confident that you or whatever it felt threatened by is not going to harm it. I personally think they are one of the most beautiful snakes in the world, with their shining grey scales  red head and yellow underbelly. They are extremely good tree climbers and will often be sun basking on top of trees, last year me and my dad caught one at the beach, when we let it go it rushed to a tree and climbed up with extreme speed and skill. I made a video of the snakes I caught at the beach last year including the Caspian whip snake, I have put it at the bottom of this blog. They feed on small vertebrates such as: Lizards, birds, small mammals and other snakes! They breed at the end of May, the male grabs the females neck and puts hit tail around her. The female lays 6 to 12 eggs at the end of june. Males are larger then Females, and usually they have much larger heads then Females.


Here's the video of all the snakes I caught at the beach last year, including a Caspian whip snake



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Friday, 16 February 2018

Snakes In Bulgaria 1. Grass Snake - Natrix natrix

Grass Snake 
The Grass Snake Is a non-venomous species of water snake. It's found all over Europe near lakes, rivers, marshes ect.. It feeds on amphibians, mainly frogs. They are quite a small specie of snake growing up to 70-90cm (Although I have found the largest one ever recorded in Bulgaria, which was an epic 148cm long, check out the video of it at the end of the blog!) They are typically dark green or brown with a yellow color behind the head. They are the most common specie of snake where I live and are also one of the most common snake species in whole of Europe. I have caught 57 of them in one day (It was breeding season) They breed in April, and lay 10 to 40 eggs in one batch!! When they feel threatened they produce a horrible smelling fluid. They really really rarely bite, I have caught hundreds of them and only once has one ever tried to bite me. They are surprisingly the largest snake specie in Britain. One of there most known defense mechanisms is to play dead.

Playing Dead

Here's the video of me catching the largest grass snake ever recorded in my country (Bulgaria)




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Five Of The Rarest Birds In The Uk


1. Hawfinch
The Hawfinch Is the UK's largest finch, and has a massive and powerful bill that is used to crack open nuts. It has declined in many areas of Britain, and is one of the hardest birds to see in the UK. It lives in woodlands, mainly on trees that produce nuts and fruits. 






2. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

The Lesser spotted woodpecker is now one of our rarest birds, It's also the rarest and smallest Woodpecker in the UK. We have lost 3 out of 4 pairs since the 1970s. It's favorite habitat is the woodlands, where there are lots of beetle larva and moths to eat.   






3. Willow Tit 

Alongside the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, the Willow tit has become the rarest woodland bird in the UK! Since 1970, numbers have declined by a shocking 91%, and experts are not sure why! They feed on Insects, Fruit and Berries. Experts estimate there to be around 3000 of them left.





4. Spotted Flycatcher 

The Spotted Flycatcher is a boring looking woodland bird, but is one of the most interesting birds to watch as it has incredible insect catching skills, hence the name. Unfortunately there are now 6 times less Spotted Flycatchers in the Britain than just 30 years ago.    





5. Wood Warbler 

One of the most beautiful and biggest warblers in Europe, unfortunately they are quite rare to see in the Uk, although there are a fair amount in Wales. They mainly feed on insects and spiders. They inhabit beach and oak woodlands.      






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