Keeper of the Wilderness

Here’s the trailer for another excellent film about wildlife in the Slovak part of the Carpathian Mountains. This time it’s bears in the Tatra Mountains, the highest point of the Carpathians, and about 80 miles west of me. The film is by Erik Baláž and Robert Rajchl.

It amazes me that I live in such a part of Europe where there is still real wilderness.

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First lizards

First lizards

Slovak folklore has the tradition that the date of April 24th, Saint Juraj’s Day, is when snakes emerge from their holes in the ground after hibernating for winter. This male and female lizard pair were sunbathing on the 26th. That’s 2 days out, damnit! Either the folklore is wrong or we just get lazy reptiles in our garden.

The other possibility is that they already were out and I just hadn’t seen them…. but that would put me in the wrong and I’m not gonna take that from any cold blooded rock-lounger.

Dead Bat

Dead Bat

I see a lot of bats flying around in the day time. Until fairly recently, in the towns they roosted in the gaps in the side walls of the ubiquitous socialist apartment blocks. However, there has been a flurry of energy-saving reconstruction, mostly polystyrene blocks placed over the walls and then plastered over. This has covered up the roosts and it’s common to see bats trying to return to their former sleeping areas and not being able to, then they circle until eventually collapsing.

House Martens also use the flat blocks for summer nesting and both they and the bats keep down the mosquito population. As the region modernizes I see some Eco-system upheavals on the cards….

On the road again….

Finally, after a month of stress and sleepless nights, I’m on the road again. Feisty passed her MOT, second time round after many repairs. Riding home from Bardejov in torrential rain and heavy wind, gravel, oil and mud slides covering the pitted and twisting back roads, I had Canned Heat playing again and again in my head.

It feels good to be officially back in the saddle. I don’t care what the weather’s like.

Violets and strawberries

Violets and strawberries

Finally, we’re starting to see Spring flowers. This is a bizarre grouping of violets and strawberries. For some reason, strawberries seem to have spread everywhere this year, including far from people’s gardens.

I’ve never understood the old song “Violets are blue, dilly dally…” as they aren’t. They’re violet. Which is basically purple.

I can understand why, in the olden days, violets made up the primary perfume. Dandelions just don’t do the same job.