I first spotted the Adders by the gate post, at the edge of the lane, in March last year. There were three of them then, but this year there is only one. I was lucky to first discover them when they were still docile from their winters hibernation, as I managed to put my face within inches of one of them. I was on my hands and knees, looking into the crevices of an old stone wall, trying to see where the bumblebee had gone, and only on rising did I spot the snake. At first I thought he must be dead, as there had been no movement, and it was then that I realised how easy it is for someone to get bitten, someone who has the urge to closely examine a creature that they wouldn't usually get close to: I felt the same urge, but luckily caution won out, and then he moved! I say a he, as I asked an expert to identify a photograph and they sexed it as a male. He slithered off into the long grass and out of sight, but he was back there on future days, along with two others.
This year, despite it being a harsher winter, I saw the first snake nearly three weeks earlier, on a cold spring day. He was basking in a patch of weak sunshine, on a warm west facing bank. I kept searching daily for more of them, but sadly it was just the one, and now he has gone. He disappeared after shedding his skin, leaving behind a memory and another souvenir for my collection.