Thursday, 2 March 2017

Spring Flora & Fauna

Daffodils are appearing in their golden hosts with a vengeance this year having been rather disappointing last spring. This year they are really making up for having given themselves rest and we have a magnificent display that should go on for a few weeks yet as the different varieties flower in sequence.
After a bleak, very windy and wet St David's Day yesterday the second day of the new month has dawned clear and bright with long awaited sunshine though a brisk cold wind is tossing the hazel catkins and making the daffy-down-dillies dance. Snowdrops sit quietly at the bottoms of the hedge-banks sheltered out of the wind and they too seem to be in a greater multitude than last spring & I've seen the first celandines gleaming along the verge of the drive. The birds are singing their spring choruses and last evening I heard the call of the wild geese passing overhead for the first time this year. Woodpeckers are heard away down the valley with their insistent hammering and the robins are in their aggressive spring mode vying for territory in the hedges. The eaves of the farm buildings are busy with sparrows diving in and out with beakfuls of nest-building materials, grasses, a strand of sheeps wool or some moss. I recently found a tiny bird's nest that had been blown out of its mooring in a tree, an exquisite bowl of neatly woven mosses and wool measuring no more than about 2inches across, but the product of many hours of work for a small bird.
In the gardens the camellias are flowering and again they appear to be putting on a more exuberant display than previously although that may be down to them being established and more mature it now being several years since they were planted. Hellebores are in full flower, particularly the beautiful purple Easter rose with other varieties still establishing themselves though managing to produce a few flowers in this their first season.
Around the edges of the ponds frogspawn has appeared almost overnight in its great jellied masses and on the banks I have been finding long strings of toad-spawn along with the pathetic & disgusting remains where the heron has been feasting on copulating toads.

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