Adder photography is challenging, particularly during fights. More importantly, adder photography needs to be done very carefully to avoid any risk of disturbance to the snakes at this sensitive time. I always stay a respectful distance away, using a lens with long reach plus teleconverter, and the photos shown here are heavy crops. Not one of the snakes I photographed departed while I was present.
Come the second week of April each year, I start to get really twitchy. It's Adder season, and the boys should hopefully have sloughed last year's skin and be ready to start fighting. (It's called 'dancing', and I've called it that in the blog title, but it really isn't: it is visceral, sinew-straining battling.) I tried one usual site, but all bar one of the males I saw hadn't yet sloughed. A friend reported the same at another site. I then tried a third site, buoyed by reports of considerable numbers. And it was simply brilliant. Over the course of a morning I encountered 23 snakes, 22 of them male. All but three of the males had sloughed. When I found a male guarding a female, I sensed the prospect of serious action, so waited and watched for three hours. In total, the incumbent male fought off at least four rivals. At one point, four males were on view, all fighting - two 'pairs'. The vanquished included a beautiful clotted-cream male, which is possibly the most beautiful of his species I have ever seen. There was near constant skirmishes or chasing for 2.5 hours and it was only due to obligation (picking up my daughter from a sleepover) that I'm not still there gawping!