About three weeks ago my 'holiday' started with a trip to my birth town for a reunion of 'my' primary school class and ended with a two weeks stay in the Vosges. The weather in the Vosges was fabulous in the first week. With temperatures above 20 degrees a lot of jobs have been done outside......like cutting the bramble bushes. After this job was done my son discoverd a little snake between my house and the path. The little snake was a grass snake who is living in a hole of my housewall; during my complete stay the snake stayed on the same place. Taking a photo of the snake without brown cutted bramble branches was a challenge but after some attempts/days the snake was not using his 'reverse' immediately when I came closer.
Last weekend I was in France as some repair and a lot of paint jobs needs to be done at the house. The weather was great and I started with sanding the weathered front door and bench followed by putting a coat of primer on. Although the previous owner told me about Grass Snakes around the house I did not believe that they would be around with that kind of noise.
Yesterday morning when I inspected my paintwork I saw a dark earthworm in the corner of my house/terrace. When I came closer I noticed that it was a little snake but not a Grass Snake...as the snake disappeared within a few seconds I was not sure which species it was!
One hour later, I noticed the snake in the split of the terrace wall and took my camera.....with my macro lens I looked into the split and noticed one.....two.....three snakes heads.
When I looked aside I saw an other little snake between the tiny flowers which were growing over the terrace .....I immediately asked my children to pay attention to that part of the terrace.
Last Saturday evening I arrived to the south of France and during my first inspection of one of the wild meadows, I found a resting Green-underside Blue….what a nice species to start the holiday with! The next day I found out that I was arrived in Nature Walhalla. First, it turned out that the Green-underside Blue is a very common butterfly here. Secondly, I met a wild turtle….actually she scared me when I heard her between the foliage….never met a wild land turtle before. Thirdly, a lot of tree frogs are living near the accommodation and every evening they are giving a concert. Fourthly, some little snakes are living around the accommodation too. Fifthly….in two days’time I photographed so many butterflies that I can’t choose one for this blog so I post one of the two snakes I found on day one.
As I’m used to approach butterflies carefully, I often meet other creatures like snakes. A few days after arrival in the Ardeche I met a grown ‘Couleuvre de Montpellier’ (Malpolon monspessulanus) which had a length of about 2 metres. The snake was too busy hunting lizards that he did not hear (feel) me coming. I was fascinated by the beauty of his skin and I wanted to make some photo’s but at the moment I put down my tripod quietly, the snake jumped away in such a high speed that he made me shiver.
My second meeting with a snake was down in the valley. I wanted to photograph the old bridge but the path downhill to the bridge was made by and suitable for mountain goats! The thought of climbing up again through this path (it was bloody hot) brought up the ‘tremendous’ idea to walk through the creek to the other, more easygoing path. That was a big mistake as the rocks became bigger and instead of walking I was climbing and jumping. Suddenly I saw a little snake in the water. Comparing to the ‘couleuvere’ this was a baby snake of only 50 centimetres. On a rock beneath me the snake came out of the water for a rest. So, I decided to climb to the other side. I jumped on a little (slippery) stone and very easily I was on the other side and photographed this snake (natrix maura).
Canon 7D; tripod; remote release; 350mm, 1/160s at F9 and ISO100
On my way back I stepped on the same stone but my feet immediately slipped into the water and for a second I made some strange moves to avoid falling down in the water.
Fortunately I re-found my balance and with one wet foot/leg I continued my journey through the canyon. At one point the creek was 5 metres below and I had to jump to the other side.....the other side was a steep rock.....although I thought that I had almost reached the end I doubted whether to jump or not. First I threw my tripod to the other side (unfortunately my connection system from Novoflex did not survive this action) and than I jumped. This procedure I had to repeat a few more times before I could see the other path in the distance.....hours has passed in-between and my water bottles were almost empty. Back ‘home’ I was totally exhausted but happy to experienced it.....to jump and walk like a mountain goat!
Ardeche part IV will added soon!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.