Recently, ARC held a three day long "Reptiles and Amphibians of Dorset" Tour with NatureTrek. Here's what the participants got up to, as told by Dorset Field Officer, James.

Reptiles and Amphibians of Dorset Tour Day 1:

Despite the consistent heavy drizzle and temperatures of 8°c, we headed out to ARC Trust's Creech nature reserve this afternoon in search of any species braving the weather. After looking at bog beacon, devil's matchstick fungus, sundew, Dorset heather and finding two adder sloughs, a beautiful slow-worm made an appearance at the last minute to everyone's delight. The evening tour was more successful however and thanks to BCP staff at Hengistbury Head, we discovered 4 Natterjacks on the edge of a breeding pond viewed from the footpath and two more walking past us to join the party. Three of the guests on the tour were particularly good photographers (see below!)


Photo taken by Peter Warne at Hengistbury Head

Reptiles and Amphibians of Dorset Tour Day 2 and 3:

After the rains of Monday, the sun was a very welcome return. Not only to us but all the heathland wildlife, and they came out in full force on Tuesday morning. The sand lizards on Lytchett Bay were the stars of the day with 17 recorded including a pair together along with numerous common lizards. With the afternoon and evening visiting Great Ovens and Green Pool we managed to add close up sightings of two Smooth snakes, a grass snake, common frog, smooth newt and slow-worm. We also had Dartford warblers, stonechats, a marsh 

harrier and red kite with infuxes of Swallows and Martins passing over. Tuesday evening a torching survey at the pond also gave us opportunities to hear a tawny owl, bat detect 6 different species and use thermal imaging camera to watch sika deer on the reserve.

With only the elusive adder left to discover, we took a Wednesday morning stroll along a well-known adder hotspot and although conditions were cool and overcast, we managed to get a brilliant sighting of a beautiful male hunting in the scrub. The afternoon spent on the Boscombe clifftop also rewarded us with glimpses of an introduced species to the UK, the Wall lizard. All in all, a really enjoyable few days herping.


ARC partners with NatureTrek to deliver tours with experienced field herpetologists in a suite of our own nature reserves.

We aim to build on this partnership and increase the benefits to both organisations; ARC can raise our profile with a different audience and attract wider support while bringing in different members of staff to gain experience and add diversity and development to job roles. Exciting times ahead!