Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Bulgaria, June 2017 Part 6 Back on two feet.

With the poor weather seemingly behind us and with little point in hiring a car to venture anywhere nearby I had no other choices but to venture out on foot  everyday.
A simple choice of two directions.
Today it was over the headland and back in to the woods to see what I might find. 
Much the same as before but another attempt to better the photos.
Six-spot Burnet   Zygaena filipendulae
You can actually see the six spots on this one.
It's amazing how much time you can spend on one Grasshopper, especially when there are blades of grass getting in the way.
Some careful gardening required although not when your subjects (Carinal Butterfly?) land on a tall thistle.
Cardinal   Argynnis pandora
I  decided there wasn't much to be found in the woods, I'd walked for a couple of miles and heard the odd sound but nothing was clearly seen. I turned around to head back to the hotel only stopping when I saw this Southern Skimmer Dragonfly buzzing across two large puddles in the track.
Southern Skimmer  Orthetrum brunneum
With nothing else to photograph I waited a while to try and get something on this one but while doing so I heard a rustle in the dead leaf cover. 
Only this was different.
Walking along the track you are taken aback when a lizard darts for cover making a noise as it goes. I have too admit to jumping to one side on a couple of occasions, a natural reaction for me. I have seen Horned Viper in Bulgaria, Europe's most venomous snake.
This sound was the result of a slower, more deliberate movement.
My eyes suddenly caught on to what was making the noise.
Sheltopusik   Pseudopus apodus
It was too close for comfort as I hadn't a clue what I was looking at!
Backing off to a distance of 6 or 7 metres I watched as it headed my way.
Sheltopusik   Pseudopus apodus
Very slowly.
Sheltopusik   Pseudopus apodus
I think it was tired! But at least I could see it didn't have any fangs.
Sheltopusik   Pseudopus apodus
Onwards it came.
Sheltopusik   Pseudopus apodus
I was surprised it didn't seem to detect me despite my movement and proximity. It did however change direction after a while.
Sheltopusik   Pseudopus apodus
Sheltopusik   Pseudopus apodus
I spent ages just following it through the leaf litter as it searched from tree trunk to tree trunk
Sheltopusik    Pseudopus apodus
I was confident that we were both unafraid of each other but neither knew for certain if the other was a potential threat.
Sheltopusik    Pseudopus apodus
Getting a photo wasn't easy as the shade was dark and the dappled sunlight very bright. 
Sheltopusik   Pseudopus apodus
And with hindsight I wish I had had a smaller lens to try and get the whole of it's 70+cm length in the one shot.
I was barely distracted when a Nuthatch landed right next to me.
Eurasian Nuthatch   Sitta europaea

Eventually though I left the "snake" in peace to carry on it's journey through the woods.
I'd had an hours entertainment following the creature though and it was one of the highlights of the trip, if not the highlight.
Returning to the hotel I retreated to our room to try and "Google" an identity.
I came up with Javelin Sand Boa but my learned friend who lives in Bulgaria put me right when I posted a shot on the internet.
It's a Sheltopusik, also known as a Legless or Palas' Glass Lizard.
It had made my day whatever it was!

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