|Viperine snake [Couleuvre vipérine or Vipère d'eau] Natrix maura|
Planete Passion state that they are very variable ["Its colouring is extremely variable, olive greens, greenish brown, yellowish brown, greys, yellowish orange and reddish browns. On its back are two rows of dark lines, angled backwards, which are often joined together to give a zigzag pattern."]... indeed the illustrations on their site show five different colourways and patterns. They also say "but if threatened it adopts a very similar intimidating pose to a Vipére" and whilst being manouvered for a photograph, it took up a strike pose and then relaxed and slid off in the direction I'd hoped. It moved very fast and in almost all shots is slightly blurred against the background. [I've sharpened them as best I can.] Visit Planete Passion to get more information and see the other pictures.
This is the first "live" snake we've seen on the property.... the only other observations have been sloughed skins.
Thanks to Susan from Days on the Claise for this link to the reference on Reptiles and Amphibiens de France [it is an English Language site despite the french title]
|Viperine snake showing a zig-zag pattern at the right|
|Viperine snake [head detail - note the round pupil]|
Suddenly the Swallows are gone.... as are the House Martins from town! Summer is finished!
A male Sparrow Hawk [Epevier d'Europe] took a small bird [probably young Goldfinch] in the Sunflowers next to the house. It came from the meadow at flower-top height and dove in directly in front of me. Came out again very swiftly and composed itself [and its prey] on a sunflower [tournesol] head and then flew back towards the meadow.