A sudden movement down by my feet caught my eye. There was a lizard, right underneath me, heading for exactly the same place as my foot. I jumped. Literally! It saw me at about the same time and changed direction. Right under my feet again.
I had spent the morning walking on the Malvern Hills, my eyes peeled for a lizard basking on the path. My friend had seen – and photographed – one up there a couple of weeks previously, so I knew that they lived there. I have walked the hills for years and never seen one. Maybe I just needed to look harder?
The Malvern Hills Trust had put a sign up, explaining that they had felled some trees to create a lizard-friendly grassland habitat, so maybe today was the day. Every time I walked on an open section of path, I scoured it for basking lizards. Even if I didn’t see a lizard, I was hopeful that I would at least hear a rustle in the undergrowth at the side of the path as one scampered for cover.
As I reached some woodland at the end of a large area of grassland, I sighed. Clearly it wasn’t going to happen today. I started looking around me and up into the trees, daydreaming – and that’s when it happened. The lizard clearly didn’t know it was supposed to bask in the sun by the grassland…
I hadn’t ever seen a common lizard before. I would have been distraught if my first ever sighting had been under my shoe but, luckily for both parties, I didn’t land on it. I am pleased to report that it quickly realised that there was a clumsy oaf nearby, scarpered to safety and lived to see another day.