On our recent trip to south-east Poland, I had reason to start questioning some of the assumptions we seem to be making about optimal habitats for our rarer species.
This was especially apparent with the sand lizards we were finding all over the area.
In the UK, we seem to assume that sand lizards have two favoured habitats: sand dunes and heathland.
I want to question that, based on what we found in Poland.
We were finding sand lizards in roadside meadows, along forest edges and indeed pretty much everywhere except in the forest (we didn't look there) and wet habitats.
My hypothesis is that in the UK sand lizards, and probably other species, have been pushed out of their preferred habitats into sub-optimal habitats.
Could it be that if suitable 'meadow' habitat existed alongside sand dunes and heathland that the sand lizards would be in those habitats as well?
I suspect they would be and perhaps you know of somewhere where they are?
Given that sand lizards like sandy soil, I believe that they could expand into other habitats given sufficient connectivity.
If we could just re-establish flower-rich meadows around sand lizard habitat, I believe we could help our threatened populations become sustainable and benefit a wealth of other wildlife as well.
I'd be interested to hear of your thoughts on this.