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There's an abundance of nature right under our noses
The Spring equinox came upon us this week, and already we can see signs of the natural world waking up again after a long, cold winter.
Those early rays of sunlight through the mist. The blackthorn white with blossom. Bare branches budding, teasing what’s to come.
But not everyone received the memo that it’s time to get up. I found some critters this week hitting the snooze button for as long as they can.
At the top of my road is a fibreoptic cabinet. A pretty normal sight on the street, right?
Take a closer look, and you’ll find these cosy snails enjoying whatever warmth the cabinet is spitting out.
We’ve had a bit of rain in the last week, and as the weather warms up I’ll expect to see these guys heading out again at night, looking for delicious rotting vegetation and other decomposing detritus to eat.
The bushes in my street are also home to an escargatoire (yep, that’s right - word of the day) of snails, and when it rains they head up to the top leaves in their dozens to soak up as much as they can.
This also leaves them open to predators, because as well as playing a role in cleaning up they are a vital part of the food chain. Thrushes in particular love snails. If you spot empty snail shells scattered at the foot of a tree, chances are you’re looking at the remains of a thrush’s dinner.
I was barrelling past the internet cabinet on my way home and it was only pure chance that I spotted these snails. It was a pleasant reminder that it’s worth slowing down once in a while to notice the life that’s thriving in all corners of our urban environments.
Whether it’s a frosted spiderweb glittering on a railing, a coot diligently building its nest on a canal, or a snail snuggling into a crevice, our towns and cities are packed with opportunities to discover the natural world.
All we have to do is keep our eyes open.