23 February 2016

Nature notes, time for an update

The seasons begin to roll around once again.  It's light in the mornings, some days I catch only the end of the sunrise, we've some lovely skies, red through pink to purple although few seem to be giving warnings to shepherds or dog walkers!

AW reports the first frogspawn in a ditch close to home. The first lapwing have been circling over the moor and across the village. In the churchyard there is a stand of daffodils in full flower surrounded by a carpet of snowdrops - quite a striking sight (note to self take camera and get a picture!).  In the garden the Christmas box is still in full flower filling the front porch with a glorious scent of honey and on the other side of the front door the winter jasmine is still dotted with little yellow stars.  Across the lawn (hah, more like a patch of scruffy grass, mud and moss if we're honest) in the 'woodland' corner the hazel is dripping with catkins over the little yellow ribbons of the witch hazel which waft their sweet perfume when the sun shines and under all of them the snowdrops are struggling to open and the winter aconites are still tight, but swelling, buds of yellow. And this morning to greet visitors beside the path a couple of crocus enjoying the weak sunshine and cheering everyone's day.
Crocus in the grass - look at all that moss!


We're still not feeding the birds, although in the recent cold snaps we have put out some suet, seed and nuts along with a bowl of water, even so only half of it was eaten, there are still berries on the cotoneaster and the little birds are happily bustling around the bushes and trees.  The gold crests (yes, plural) are seen most days, a willow tit has been for a few visits but the long tails do seem displeased that there's no food for them and they rarely stay long. All of the spuggie family are happy and are seen regularly as are surprisingly high numbers of wrens popping in and out of the wall and wandering through the ivy, the blackbirds are calling the sunset and the thrushes greeting the dawn, another sign of the burgeoning spring. We appear to have three robins two are definitely female so I'm assuming the third is a male.

What's that little orange spot on the coal at the back of the shed?

It's a foolishishly wide-awake small tortoiseshell butterfly.


Hibernating small tortoiseshell butterfly
Unlike its friends who are still fast asleep this one obviously thinks it's warm enough to get up and stretch its wings. It soon learnt the error of its ways and this morning was asleep again - still on top of the coal! It was carefully moved from its precarious perch to a more sensible spot on one of the ledges.