Friday, March 19, 2010

New Beginnings


Until this week it seemed Winter hadn't quite finished with us, he was still hanging on by his icy finger tips and refusing to succumb to Spring's gentle advances. For some time we had a vicious wind which bit through to the very core of one's being. There have been some sunny spells but much of the time it has been dull. Thankfully though the last few days have been milder with some really lovely sunshine.

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So, despite Winter's best efforts Spring is beginning to make her mark, the Snowdrops I thought had gone for good suddenly emerged from beneath their leafy duvet instantly bringing a wonderful promise of things to come.

Snowdrops

'A light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period -
When March is scarcely here.'
(Emily Dickinson)

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The Crocuses too seemed to appear almost overnight. So much must have been going on underneath that blanket of snow which covered the garden for so long.

Crocus

' THE groundflame of the crocus breaks the mould,
Fair Spring slides hither o'er the Southern sea,
Wavers on her thin stem the snowdrop cold
That trembles not to kisses of the bee.'
(Lord Alfred Tennyson)

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The birds have definitely sensed that things are moving on and seem to be pairing up and I have already seen a House Sparrow gathering nesting material. The Blackbirds continue to visit in large numbers and wait expectantly in the late afternoon for me to put out apples and grated cheese. I had intended to stop putting it out when the weather got milder but at the moment I haven't the heart to disappoint them.

Blackbird

I had no idea that the Blackbird has a yellow tongue!

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The Goldfinches continue to visit the Sunflower feeders, what colourful birds they are, the garden always seems brighter when they appear.


Goldfinch

The Robin seems to be around most days and I suspect will soon be nesting somewhere in the garden. There always used to be a Robin's nest in the Ivy outside our French windows but some years ago all the baby birds were destroyed by a cat early one morning, I was devastated and could hardly bear to look into the garden for days after. Oddly, there has never been a nest there since.

Robin

' My garden robin in the Spring
Was rapturous with glee,
And followed me with wistful wing
From pear to apple tree. '
(Robert William Service)

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A bird often heard in the vicinity of my garden but not often seen in it is the Carrion Crow but I managed to capture this one last week.

Carrion Crow
Chaffinches are regular visitors

Chaffinch (Female)

and at this time of year the male in particular looks very colourful.

Chaffinch (Male)

'And the Chaffinch warbles to his mate.
"Sweet, will you, will you, kiss me, dear."
All hail, all hail! thou growing year. '
(The Author Of "Ahab")

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For the last few years Winter, for me, has been brightened by the arrival in my garden of the very welcome Blackaps. Previously, contrary to what many bloggers have observed, the females have been much bolder and fed openly at the feeders and on the tables whilst the males have remained much shyer and more elusive but this year there has been a complete reversal and the male has been the bolder sex although easily frightened away by the ever dominant Greenfinches! I have found it difficult to capture them this year but this little chap was very cooperative a couple of days ago.

Blackcap (Male)

Practising some sort of ballet manoeuvre!

' Thy blended notes are most complete,
Yet varied all the while,
Thy symphonies display the grace,
Of nature's complex style. '
(James Lawson)

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This post has been shorter than usual (for which I'm sure you are grateful) but I wanted to get something published as the first part of my eye surgery has been brought forward by a month and will take place tomorrow, Saturday the 20th. Consequently, I may not be able to post or visit blogs for a while but will resume as soon as I can. If all goes well I then hope to post more regularly. I am not looking forward to tomorrow and at this moment feel rather like the condemned man, or more correctly woman :) but I am looking forward to being able to properly enjoy the beauty of Nature again in all its glory. I hope you all have a wonderful Nature filled weekend and a great week.