This was privileged viewing.
Slightly dazed, I wandered back towards my car. A lithe shape caught my eye. It was a Slowworm, basking in the semi-open. I very rarely see this legless lizard away from tins or felts, so I lapped up this contextual experience of newly emerged reptile in the shelter of heather. Splendid.
... but then with increasing confidence...
The problem with winter is that there are no Adders. As spring beckons, I yearn for sufficient wan sun to coax slumbering males out from their hibernacula. After last week's amazing experience at a local heathland, a spark of morning sunshine two days ago coaxed me out again.
After a glorious late-morning hour, I left them be. At least temporarily, my add(er)iction was sated.
... until they were all back in position. In perpetually wriggling, writhing, slithering 'position'. This was a Medusa of Adders.
Less sluggish than last week, thanks to a few sunny days terraced together, most initially departed at my footfall. But within five minutes they were back. Tentatively, at first...
Where there were eight males entwined together last week, affording my best-ever views, there were now nine or perhaps ten.
In a very recently published book with which readers of this blog may be familiar, I confess to an obsession: "if there is one animal featured in this book that gets my heart pounding and juices flowing like no other, it is the adder. Britain's sole venomous snake, a string of diamonds chaining its length and a devilish vertical papercut of a pupil, bewitches me beyond all else."