Thanks to our great team of volunteers here at Otmoor our Lizard Lounge has been given a good clear out to expose the tiles and logs. Over the next few weeks you’ll get your last chance (for this year at least) to see the common lizards that make Otmoor their home basking on these exposed logs and tiles which hold the heat from the sunlight and help the lizards reach their optimum body temperature of about 30°C.
Lizard Lounge - business as usual (Photo: Holly Booker)
At the moment there are plenty of tiny juvenile lizards clambering over the logs as well as the more colourful adults. Occasionally you may also see lizards with stumpier, darker tails. This could be caused by lizards “dropping” their tails if they have been under attack. This is a great (if not gory) mechanism the lizards have to protect themselves. If a bird comes along and tries to grab the lizard by its tail the lizard can detach it and scurry off. The detached tail will twitch a little bit as the nerves die off and it will look (to a predator) as if it is still a living thing! I imagine this is quite traumatic for the lizard but the tail grows back and the lizard lives to see another day and (as the lizard is in turn a predator) hunt down the small insects and invertebrates that they themselves feed on.
Lounging about (Photo Terry Sherlock)
The Lizard Lounge is right by the first viewing screen at the reedbed so on your way there you’ll get to see some of the other great wildlife that seems to be all around us at the moment. The purple heron, however, is proving to be more and more elusive as the days go by but we are getting good views of marsh harrier over the reedbed and good numbers of juvenile lapwing on the muddy exposed banks. The juveniles have shorter tufty crests on their heads and their faces and heads have more yellow colouring than the adults.
There have been good displays of hunting hobby over the moor over the last week or so as well as peregrine falcon and noisy fly overs from greenshank. And finally, as a sign of autumn encroaching in, wheatear are once more on the moor as they begin their journeys south.