Finally a day before April the first rains of 2022 have arrived in Slovakia. It has been unseasonably hot and sunny the past few weeks with temperatures up to 20c in the middle of the day, but down to -5 at night.
The country, the people and the wildlife all needed these rains very much and as anticipated it triggered a mass migration of amphibians in the forests surrounding the weekend house. Just prior to the arrival of the rain, mass migrations of Common toads (Bufo bufo) and Common frog (Rana temporaria) had already begun, with many hundreds on the roads passing through or at the edge of the forests. Likewise the first Fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) also made an appearance yesterday, with 15 or so wandering around in the rain in the afternoon during a small walk in the forest. After dark, more were found crossing a nearby road. I will try and make the most of the forest amphibians before I move to the breeding sites of the more lowland species which I have typically found in greater abundance during my usual summer visits to Slovakia. Some Common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) were also enjoying the sunny days prior to the change in the weather.
Further north more Adders (Vipera berus) and the first Grass snakes (Natrix natrix) have emerged. However many vipers here live at high altitudes, and depending where you are you can either have all animals out right now or they can be hibernating under 50cm of snow until around May.
In addition a couple of Ural owls (Strix uralensis) and Tawny owls (Strix aluco) have been showing well on some days.
Hopefully in the coming weeks the other reptiles will also emerge…