Monday, 25 April 2011

Not one swallow...

One swallow does not make a summer but could two be the sign of sunshine to come? The online weather forecasts don't agree at the moment but we live in hope. Whatever the weather it was quite a surprise to see these guys outside the window as I was getting breakfast. Perhaps it is evidence of ageing or a sign of the power of parenting that such things catch my attention. As if to prove either point, this morning's bike ride around the lake was a head turning affair. I am pleased to say I didn't run over three of the largest snails I can remember seeing. Spotting the first, bang in the middle of the trail I was riding, had me stopping to gauge just how big he was: head to tail easily as wide as my fist. Maybe that doesn't sound so impressive to you but it was to me!


The wisdom of Wikipedia indicates the bird swimming on the lake could be a sign of summer. The margin for error comes from the vagaries of their distribution map and the accuracy of my identification. Nevertheless, I'm going to make it 2-0 to summertime with my sighting of a Great Crested Grebe. (Real ornithologists feel free to shout me down on this!) Least this all get terribly optimistic I have to redress the balance with what Wikipedia says about my weirdest wandering wildlife encounter yet: “These salamanders are secretive and will only exit their underground home on warm rainy nights in Spring, to breed and hunt.” Yes, I spotted a Spotted Salamander, obviously late getting home from a hard night out in yesterday's rain. Shiny black with bright orange spots he was always going to be hard to miss but nevertheless proved a little camera shy. Here's the proof it's probably still spring.

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