Three Snakes in Four Days – The Magpie Assassin

This morning we were treated to a rare spectacle in nature. It was our third snake in four days.

Sat with our morning coffee watching BBC Breakfast I caught in the corner of my eye one of the Magpies pecking at something in the grass about four metres away through the large floor to ceiling window.

“What is he pecking at?”

We both watched and sure enough it was pecking at a small grass snake. The Magpie backed off and attacked several times I could see the snake curl around its beak. The display went on for several minutes.

The Magpie seemed to lose interest and flew off up into the tree.

I opened the widow / door and went to inspect. Where the Magpie had been pecking was a small now headless snake still writhing a bit. I offered the wife to come see but she declined.

A little while later one of the blackbirds arrived, near to the place of snake assassination. It had a long pecking session with something that was the same size as a snake’s head.

A bit later the Magpie returned and inspected the battlefield. It then flew off, satisfied.

It was quite a spectacle played out only a few metres from our sofa.

As an aside I am convinced that one or both of the Magpies can imitate a cat’s meow. One of them can do duck quacking as well.

Pretty clever these creatures. This display was made for us to perhaps learn from. A lesson from the dreaming?

The Magpie Totem.

Seeing the Natrix.

No this isn’t a spelling mistake. The range of creatures which we have seen here has increased by two over the last few days. Yesterday in full daylight we had a bat and today we saw yet another snake.

Walking down close by the pond the wife and I startled a grass snake only a few feet from us. It was in the water just in front of us. It swam off to “duck corner” where the duck nest was. I could almost touch it. The wife was a tad freaked but later felt quite privileged to see it. The swimming was very elegant.

A web search suggests that is was either natrix natrix or natrix Helvetica. It had a nice collar and looked very much like this chap. {Not my photo.}

It was about 80cm long and probably didn’t predate the duck’s eggs, it being too cold back then.

It might however be munching the nascent frogs and toads.

It is pretty special to see a snake swimming in our pond.