And then it was spring...

This time last week I was hurling wood onto the stove to keep everyone warm as the snow and hail battered against the windows, we went through two basket loads!
Before the Arctic returned we had seen our first house martins but they had wisely gone elsewhere for the duration, however, poor Vigilamus, one of BTO's tracked cuckoos who was tagged at MOD Fylingdales just over the hills from us, arrived in the middle of the storm and sadly perished, at least that the conclusion the researchers have made, see his journey here.
Then it stopped, the sun came out and so did the blackthorn blossom (at last), the house martins returned from wherever they had been hiding, a few swallows swooped across the field and then to confirm it all we heard the first cuckoo calling on Monday morning, AW's father-in-law heard one a day earlier on Sunday. 

Now in a complete change in the seasons today we have the windows open and heating is definitely off, at lunch time the car said  it's 23 degrees and with the first returning swifts screaming overhead you can believe that summer is just around the corner.

My New Year's resolution of not feeding the birds (see here) is giving rise to some interesting sightings, we've added two new species to our garden list having seen a pair of redpolls and earlier this week a female blackcap. The tit family are thriving, we have lots of warblers (still no good at identifying LKJs*!) and from the call some must be chiff-chaffs. the noisiest of them all are the wrens, how such a small bird creates such a deafening volume is astonishing.
We had a pair of robins nesting in the garage but unfortunately they got scared off their nest by a neighbour's cat (grr!) but the thrushes who nested in the ivy in the spruce have raised three fledglings who are now following their parents around demanding food. One newly fledged youngster kept me entertained one afternoon when it took up residence in the trees outside my office window.
Song thrush fledgling waiting for a parent to return
(sorry it's not brilliant it was snapped through a triple glazed window).

A lovely distraction from the end of year accounts.....

There is a keyboard under there somewhere!

*Little Khaki Jobs - not really brown but not green either so khaki they have been dubbed.