Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Snow and birds

Now that the bitter wind has dropped it's quite pleasant to go for a walk even though the snows still falling. It must be very confusing and stressful for the birds though, who are still visiting the feeders in large numbers but at the same time becoming more territorial and less tolerant. We have about a dozen chaffinches, four robins, eight blackbirds and numerous coal, blue and great tits and the occasional nuthatch visiting. We are also still getting a flock of about a dozen Long Tailed tits. In the fields there are often about twenty to thirty Lapwings feeding alongside pairs of Curlews and hares. Yesterday we were inundated with a flock of about 600-800 starlings who took off and swooped and dived above us as we drove past. The hedgehog that was hibernating has woken up with a cold and is in a pile of straw under the stairs sneezing and eating lots of cat food. It must have heard the old saying starve a fever feed a cold. This weather must really be catching a lot of wildlife out if they come out of hibernation and they can't find any food.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Frosty mornings and tetchy birds

Frosty mornings have led on into sunny days with bright blue skies. It might be cold but at least the hard ground is easier to walk on. Everywhere you look the fields are full of molehills and the farmers are out rolling the fields to flatten them as well as muckspreading. The waders are all back in force with the rich song of curlews floating on the air as they display overhead. Flocks of lapwings feed on the fields along with gulls, oystercatchers and starlings who gather in the trees like Christmas decorations chattering away before all taking off at once to resume feeding. The woods are full of birdsong too as the birds seek to establish their territories and truces that held overwinter are disintergrating. Chaffinches engage in amazing aerial battles rising up in the air wings beating furiously. Male blackbirds drag each other across the lawn and robins vie for the highest position to display from, chest out, beak and tail pointing skywards, and if that doesn't work engaging in really vicious battles. Hares are easier to spot now while the grass is still short and a friend was lucky enough to watch a boxing bout, wish I'd been there. Lambing has started in earnest and hopefully the weather will soon get milder for them.

Couldn't resist drawing these two.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Waders are back.

The lapwings are back! We saw at least a dozen of them feeding on the fields that have been recently muckspread. We also have seen pairs of oystercatchers feeding in the fields too. The buzzards are very vocal at the minute and we often see a pair wheeling and calling above us when we are out in the garden. We keep hoping they'll nest nearby.We heard our first Curlew yesterday, it's the best sound ever, the sound of spring! Barrie has  made and put up some birdboxes around the garden, we've seen the Coal Tits, Great Tits and Nuthatch inspect them but not go in. We've had plenty of sunny and sometimes very warm days when we've been able to get out in the garden  and get plenty done. The greenhouse we got for £20 is up and already has my cowslip, ox-eye daisy, teasel and ragged robin seedlings  in there enjoying the extra warmth. I made some coldframes from old windows we saw being replaced from a house we were driving past and some old bricks that were lying around in the garden.  I've filled some old tractor tyres with well rotted manure and molehills I've collected and can't wait for the soil to warm up so I can get sowing. Inside my broad beans, leeks and spring onions have all sprouted and I have one lonely cauliflower seedling. The leeks are that beautiful vivid green colour of fresh new leaves in spring so lovely to see after the drabness of winter.