I’ve spent the last couple of nights wandering around the fields and green lanes of our village looking for glow worms.
It is just over a year since I saw glow worms in Berkshire. I was very impressed by them and I’d like to see more. The trouble is that my village isn’t quite the right habitat for glow worms (they seem to prefer fairly large areas of unimproved grassland) and none have ever been reported here before.
Nevertheless, I decided to follow the lead of those enthusiastic volunteers at Loch Ness and not let the certain prospect of utter failure put me off. Besides, there is something particularly satisfying about going for a walk on a June night.
The air has been warm and still and filled with the scent of elderflowers, cow parsley and lush vegetation. We have a family of young tawny owls in a clump of trees nearby, and the sound of them calling to each other carries a long way on a windless night. Moths flutter around the grass and the bushes, while overhead the bats flit past, dark shadows against the deep blue of the sky. Best of all are the countless rustling noises from the undergrowth as you walk past. These could be made by anything from a mouse to a deer – even a hedgehog makes a surprising amount of noise as it snuffles along the hedgerow – but they give you a primal thrill of excitement from knowing you’re close to a wild animal in the dark. It’s a fine time to be out of doors, to be awake and alive when everyone else is safely in their homes.
Did I see any glow worms? Of course I didn’t. But it doesn’t really matter.