Ah, don’t we always look forward to the traditional signs of spring. Bluebells and wood anemones flowering in the woods, catkins on the trees, the dawn chorus – and ticks! Wait a minute! Ticks in March? I’ve always thought of ticks as a pest to avoid in summer and autumn, and up here at 57 degrees north, summer does not arrive in March. But this mild winter has brought ticks out already.
I spent a few hours in the woods yesterday wandering along forest paths following the swinging arrow on my my GPS, occasionally stopping to scrabble about in the undergrowth looking for hidden boxes (geocaches). I must have picked up the hitchhiker then, but didn’t notice the wee blighter until midnight when I was rubbing hand cream into my hands and found it buried head-first in my wrist. Fortunately it came out easily with the tick-removal tool, unlike some I had to remove last summer.
After my scare with the blood test reading positive for Lyme Disease last autumn, I’m trying to be extra vigilant about checking for ticks after each outing, but hadn’t thought I’d need to check so early in the year.
BTW Another sign of a very mild winter/early spring: my son came back from a weekend away on the west coast and told me he’d been swimming in the sea at Gairloch. I know it’s unseasonally mild, but either he’s madder than his mum, or he was trying to impress his girlfriend. Or both?
I’ll leave you with signs of the ‘new’ sport of Stick Flick, as practised by dog walkers in the local Forestry Commission wood at Clash Woods.
I know the FC staff in a couple of local forests are troubled with some dog owners who conscientiously pick up their dog poo and bag it, then hang the bags on trees on the side of the path(!) – I’ve seen this myself at Glenmore Forest Park – but this is the first time I’ve seen this sign. Fortunately on the 3 occasions when I stepped off the path to search the undergrowth for caches, I was not in line of fire for any flying poop!