Nearing the end of "the tunnel"

February 26, 2012  •  Leave a Comment
  • The tunnel of winter that is, not the "Hindhead tunnel" (photo taken this morning before dawn).
  • I'm afraid I'm not one of those people who find winter particularly enjoyable, from a wildlife perspective. Sure, we get some lovely winter wildfowl in (the goldeneye being worth the cold temperatures), some birds are easier to see in trees bereft of foliage and if we get snow, I can follow various critters' tracks if I'm lucky.... but give me summer any day.
  • This week has been quite remarkable (as the late David Coleman might have said) in terms of warmth and sunshine - we've sat at double the average February day time temperature all week with very little cloud to speak of in the main.
  • The trees are a month or more away from getting their first small leaves, the bluebells are more like two months away, but we have daffodils and crocuses popping up all over the shop right now.
  • The first flowers of the year have given me my first sightings of three species of bumblebee in the garden already this year - Bombus lapidarius (the red-tailed bumblebee), B.lucorum (white-tailed bumblebee) and even a queen B.hypnorum (tree bumblebee).
  • It's lovely to know that even after moving house (and therefore garden) we still will have tree bees bumbling around our "oasis".
  • I've yet to see a butterfly this year, but I'm pretty sure red admirals (at least) will be on the wing in these balmy late winter days and the dipteran flies have started to appear around our hens' droppings.
  • Our pesky garden collared doves have been mating constantly for some time now (nesting in our leylandii) and Anna and I watched the local kestrels mate this evening in the little owl field.
  • You certainly can tell when spring is 'round the corner when great spotted woodpeckers begin drumming - and that is happening now too.
  • But we still are officially in winter time - I watched our little owls t'other day and through the owl field marched a determined army of winter thrushes (both fieldfare and redwing) on the lookout for worms I'm sure (easy to get at in these unfrozen days at present).
  • We'll have much colder days (and nights) I assume, before we gambol joyfully into spring, but until then, I am very thankful for these unseasonably mild days and nights - and the old weatherlore saying of "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb" seems more apt for February this year...



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