Na­ture notes

What to dis­cover for this sea­son

Trail (UK) - - Contents -

FROG SPAWN

Ev­ery pud­dle, tarn­let and ditch up in the hills will be strewn with this gelati­nous won­der soon, if not al­ready. Yet given a few weeks, as some of those pud­dles dry in the spring sun­shine, much spawn will per­ish as it dries out and is eaten by birds un­able to re­sist a free, pro­tein-rich snack. Did you know that the tad­poles won’t ma­ture into frogs un­til the fol­low­ing year in up­land en­vi­rons?

SKY­LARK

A lover of grassy level ridges and fell tops, this lit­tle bird stirs ju­bi­lance in your heart. On stubby tri­an­gu­lar wings they carry them­selves up to the limit of vis­i­bil­ity (for us), then break into a hover and pour forth their joy­ous song, I al­ways feel like they are singing for Bri­tain! While wild camp­ing, I’ve wit­nessed them rise be­fore dawn to greet the sun. One of na­ture’s alarm clocks at this time of year, it’s a ground nester, so be care­ful where you tread.

RAVEN

At this time of year, ravens are seen up in the high, craggy moun­tains. The largest mem­ber of the crow fam­ily, ravens are eas­ily recog­nis­able from their smaller cousins. The head and neck pro­trude quite far from the long wings, the tail is wedge shaped and if one flies close by, you’ll hear its wing beats. The bill is a straight, black dag­ger with bris­tles at its base. “Kronk, kronk” is their main call. Look for their ac­ro­batic flight, flip­ping onto their backs for a short time, plung­ing down crag faces.

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