The elusive reptiles of Shewalton woods

In perfect reptile weather we headed out at 8 am to the Scottish Wildlife Trust site at Shewalton woods in North Ayrshire. Lead by the excellent Rennie Mason, a ranger from Whitelee Wind Farm, we ventured through the undergrowth on our search for adders and lizards.

We checked refugia which has been placed on site a few weeks previous, but unfortunately we did not see any reptiles on this occasion. Such is the way when looking for such shy and elusive species.

Rennie giving us tips on the best spots to see lizards.


Although somewhat disappointed at the lack of reptiles, we did see a stunning Violet Ground beetle and several ant nests under the roofing felt which has been left as refugia for the reptiles. Still an excellent and informative walk on what was a lovely May morning.

Violet Ground Beetle


We returned to the Scottish Wildlife Trust office for a cuppa and Rennie took us for a classroom session to learn about all the reptiles found in Ayrshire. Rennie has been a ranger at Whitlee Windfarm for 8 years now,  and it took him 7 of those years to see an adder on site, so we don’t feel too bad about not seeing any on this morning’s ramble! If you get a chance, its certainly worth a visit to Whitelee Windfarm as Rennie can tell you where the reptile hot spots are! A great morning had by all, and here is to the next reptile course in the deep south at Barrhill! A big thank you to Rennie and to everyone for braving the early start to come along.

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