Coiled Spring

The final day of the fishing season was exactly as it needed to be. Lots of fun, plenty of fish, some decent tea making and excellent cake. It wasn’t particularly warm, but the catkins on the willow beneath which I sat were breaking into colour and gave the day a distinctive spring edge.

As I seem to mutter every spring, I might dig a fly rod out for a few casts on the local streams, and who knows, perhaps my self-taught and somewhat raw technique will have rusted into something functional.

More likely is a cast from the beach for mackerel, but by and large the rods will be stowed for the next three months and I can get on with other, more vital matters.

The first wheatear of my spring fluttered through before March was out (on the 30th), but I had to wait until April (2nd) for a swallow, with a bird in the same spot (the very same bird, perhaps?) as the past two years.

Slightly less pleasant was counting 127 dead toads along a very short stretch of single track road one morning. I rescued 14 (and returned over the next few days to save another 30 or so) but there seemed to be an alarming amount of casualties given the location – and curious that I have not noticed any there before.

The spot has now been logged with froglife.org, who organise road signage and volunteer ‘Toad Patrols’. I will certainly be keeping an eye out myself in around 11 months time.

I spend every spring worrying about the (lack of) emerging reptiles and amphibians. Adders are a particular concern, with so many populations deceptive due to their isolation. Even where pockets of suitable habitat remain, the gene pool is likely to become too thin.  The adder is an animal facing plenty of struggle.

At least the local slow worms seem to doing okay. They are showing in all of the usual places, and if they have hibernated successfully, then hopefully the pattern will be shared with their serpentine cousins.

          Slow worm (Anguis fragilis)

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