It’s a heat day within the backyard and a male blackbird stands sunbathing, wings held out like a cormorant, its glossy again angled to the solar. I too am relishing the heat as I sit with a cup of tea in entrance of the log retailer.

With a sudden flash of motion, a lizard scuttles from a bee-busy border of lungworts to the retaining wall of a raised mattress. I watch and wait. First its head peeps out, tasting the air, then the lizard emerges adopted by one other. Widespread lizards, Zootoca vivipara, and that is solely the second time I’ve seen them right here.

I hunker down and shuffle till I’m inside a few toes. Near, I can respect their body-long patterns of pale and brown spots, glowing coppery scales, banded toes and darkish nostrils. They lie entwined on a dry mossy stone, our bodies flattened to soak up the solar.

The male lizard lies camouflaged to the wooden. {Photograph}: Susie White

Turning into stressed, the pair continuously change place, wrapping tails over our bodies, nudging face to face or twisting in reverse instructions. Their flanks pulse, toes splay out over the warmed stone. Black tongues flick out and generally they shut their eyelids. Then, with a sudden lunge, one leaps on the opposite they usually tumble off the wall on to the paving earlier than shortly working again up and curling collectively once more.

April is the month for frequent lizards to mate and what I’ve seen might be courtship. The phrase viviparous referred to of their particular identify means “to bear reside younger” and child lizards are totally developed inside the feminine’s physique earlier than beginning. I can inform which is the male by his orange stomach.

I’m now so shut I can put my finger by his head, and he makes use of his tongue to scent my pores and skin. The lizards are usually not bothered by my presence, however when a pheasant, certainly one of their fundamental predators, flies overhead with a clatter of wings they’re each instantly on alert. Heads and necks erect, they keep inflexible for 2 minutes earlier than enjoyable once more.

The log retailer is one other favorite basking spot. When my younger grandson comes to go to, we edge inside touching distance of the male that lies camouflaged to the wooden. It’s a particular second to share.


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