The change in the season has been noticeable for the last 2 or so weeks here in our woodland in East Yorkshire. The mornings are lighter and brighter meaning we no longer rely on the Lumie lamp to acclimatise us as we awaken. In fact, Dave started a new job much closer to home last week, so we have extra hour in bed in the mornings. 7am feels like a much more acceptable time to start the day.
The dawn chorus has begun with more and more birds adding to the choir each morning. At first I noticed robins and stock doves calling. Now I hear wrens, blue tits, great tits, blackbirds and chaffinches. I long for the repetitive call of the chiffchaff, named so because of the sound it makes; ‘Chiff chaff chiff chaff.’ Many will land in the UK from their winter grounds at the end of this month.
The birds have also moulted from their dull winter appearance to their more vibrant breeding plumage. The transformation in chaffinches is truly beautiful and they are often a bird that few people appreciate due to their abundance in numbers. That being said, the species has seen a 30% decline over the last 30 years.
The stock doves are inspecting the owl box already. The pair hang about it throughout the day, probably their way of demonstrating their reservation of their chosen nesting spot. There’s an annual tussle over the box between owl, squirrel and dove. Last year, the doves won and the owls were relegated to the lesser-preferred nesting house just a few metres to the left on another birch tree. The squirrels moved in late summer, after the doves had left, to raise a litter of kits. In the winter, we cull the grey squirrels as they are not native and cause devastating damage to our native residents. In summer, we let them get on with their breeding, though. A nest of kits left to starve is unthinkable and inhumane.
Magnus is looking particularly glorious (I’m a bit biased) with every one of his feathers perfectly aligned. His tail would make the most amazing fascinator. I tell him so whenever he pecks me. The resident breeding pair of magpies will soon start to hound him, no doubt. They don’t like him being in their territory, especially during breeding season. It doesn’t seem to faze Magnus though. I think he’s clever enough to know that his opposition can’t reach him through the wire.
Dj the jay is also stunning. He’s almost a year old- where has time gone?
We have a sort of grassy area that resembles a neglected lawn. We prefer to keep it wild, plus it means we don’t have to spend precious time pushing a lawnmower around it. It probably couldn’t ever be a manicured lawn even if we tried; Paddy pooch does this crazy running thing where he races back and forth then spins around on the spot before whizzing back and forth again. This repeated behaviour has defined a constant brown path like that of a greyhound racing track. His outbursts of joy are probably in response to the ‘supervised’ outside time he has on a dog training lead due to has a tendency to ‘hop’ (in the most literal sense) over the fence and off after any moving beast.
The buds of the raspberry canes are slowly but surely morphing into leaves where as some plants, such as the buckthorn, have already sprouted their fresh green leaves.
The crocuses bloomed a few days ago, however, the heavy rain last night has inevitable caused many of the plant clusters to droop. Snowdrops appear to be able to withstand rain better. We relocated many bulbs from the other side of the wood to the garden area at this time last year and moved another load to join them last week. A glorious sea of snowdrops, I feel, is a quintessential part of early spring here in the UK. They are a sign that new life is coming and that the long nights and drab looking landscape of winter will soon be in the past.
I’m feeling far less anxious now that the days are longer. I’m sure I suffer with SAD and, thankfully, I have felt much more relaxed and generally positive over the last few weeks. I can’t wait for light evenings so that I can get out into the garden after working. For now, I’ll continue to gaze out of my office window and into the wood as I work, appreciating the gradual change I notice each day.
Come on spring, let’s get into full swing!
This post is sponsored. All words and thoughts are my own