The rainy side of it has....Now turned cold now our heating (woodburner with back boiler) is out of action. Outside however we now have increasing birdsong. Daffodils and Snowdrops. And the nights seem at last to be retreating and more daylight. Last night I heard a fox bark. Spring is coming at last.
Its been a rollercoaster ride so far this year with it going from sunny and warm (thats +1 or 2 around here in January) to snowing and minus 15 or 20 and back. We will see what February our traditional coldest month brings but it will not be Snowdrops n Daffodils thats for sure........
"Our" Swallows have returned for the summer! A little later than last year but then our weather has been anything but welcoming to a bird who has flown 6000 miles from the Cape across water and the Sahara to get here. We shall share our "traditional" bubbly with our neighbour this evening in celebration of their fantastic journey the coming warmer weather and lighter evening. AND to come camping expeditions. (fancy another road trip Confused?) Asking for Tipsy.
Enjoy your birds of summer Daisy, we here are seeing what we hope will be the last of winter (its officially spring but you would not know it) with several days of snow, freezing rain, high winds and generally crappy weather. It looks like we have another couple of days of this crap but then it is said to be warming up next week to around 'normal' (+10 days). Our bird feeders are VERY busy with a few early arrivals from further south competing with our winter regulars not able to find food under layer of crusty snow, both they and us are praying that next weeks forecast is correct!
THE SWALLOWS ARE BACK! that is excellent news daisy.
meanwhile spring has actually arrived in the uk. a week ago it looked and felt like November and now the sun is out the trees are flowering the birds are singing the hayfevers brewing, the noisy neighbours are lighting smoky bbqs over my washing on the line...wait, do I like spring?
I sat watching a male bullfinch yesterday, as it flitted around the lower branches of some shrubs in our garden. They are really an attractive and colourful bird.
There was a bit of bird activity generally in our garden yesterday, as I'd unearthed a mound of compost and was carting it about and digging it in.
I have noticed many more garden birds here in the UK than in our home in central France. The bird population there has been hit hard due to pesticide use killing the insects on which the birds feed. Some reports day a 40% reduction in bird numbers.
I've had 2 consecutive dreams about christmad! in one I was in the co-op and they had a big display of last years Christmas stock out. I was so outraged I was thinking about complaining to my mp to ban this sort of shit.
then the next night I had the same dream! except this time it was 'the shoppe' and they were selling christmad trees in pots. this time I did write to my mp to ask that all related christmad anything be illegal till December. iwas also (in the dream) toying with starting some kind of online petition.
clearly its playing on my mind.
*starts wondering were I can move to where this doesn't happen*
I found a new tree in the garden and I don't know what it is. Quite well established now, it could be plum (those pesky things get everywhere) or apple. I'm hoping the latter but I sadly suspect the former.
We get a lot of windfalls from our one apple tree, the vast majority of which are inedible due to rot. The tree itself is sadly diseased BUT it's a glorious tree none-the-less and gives a plentiful supply of mistletoe! I'm hoping for a new apple tree to replace this one when it gives up and/or needs felling.
I've already cut down 4 plum trees (leaving 2), and am regularly digging out new ones. It seems to need no encouragement. I'm not a fan of plums, the fallen ones attract wasps by the score.
So all-in-all I'm hoping this tree find turns out to be an apple.
Our Swallows have flown. I watched them the other day in their pre migration behaviour. All flying into a tree or on to wires. Then all flying around and back to the tree/wires again. Next day the sky was empty excepting one or two stragglers yet to leave. I have to fight very hard not to be sad at this time.
We look for the absence of our humming birds at the feeder to mark the end of our summer season and saw a couple of females just yesterday as we sat out waiting for our BBQ supper to finish cooking so its not quite over yet. In fact record high temps forecast today and outdoor thermometer saying 31c right now and with humidity pushing it to 'feel like' 40 we are sat inside (not that its much cooler in here) awaiting the cold front and possible storm coming through tonight. Once that happens it will be time to think about putting gardening stuff away, filling the woodshed with what little wood the lazy bugger wot lives here has cut this year and mowing the grass which has suddenly decided to grow again after its summer burn off. Carefully avoiding going near the tractor and snowblower though, got a few months before that chore comes to the fore .... least there bloody well had better be!
Flocks of crane flying overhead, chatting away with themselves, on their way to warmer climes. You kind of envy them that freedom.
I love this time of the year and for me, the passage of the cranes is one of the markers and highlights. The sound is just majestic; if they pass low enough (which they often do) you can hear the lazy flap of the wing - then add in their call and the general babbly, chatter that they do... Plus, of course, the sight of them. From small little groups numbering but a handful to the huge v-shaped wings of tens or even hundreds....oh, it's a wonder, it really is.