Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Suggestions of Spring

It is that tantalising time of year when we can all too easily be seduced into thinking that one welcome day of milder temperatures and golden sunshine spells the start of Spring, only to have our hopes dashed the next day with a return to penetrating, cold winds and rain. It was therefore frustrating when one of the aforementioned Springlike days, last Tuesday, coincided with prearranged appointments, however we managed to snatch an hour or so to visit a small, local lake. The wild and unforgiving cold winds which we had experienced day after day, for what seemed much longer than the five days they actually lasted, had gone and the sun had put in a much needed appearance.

'Spring is coming ! spring is coming
Infant leaves are on the trees;
And the little birds are humming
Songs upon the pleasant breeze'
(Mrs. C. H. Waterman Esling)

How lovely it was to be greeted by the sight of Snowdrops... lots of them... some growing in drifts as far as the eye could see!


'The little snowdrop comes
To herald in the spring,
In robe of spotless white,

With hope upon its wing.'
(Ann Stuart Thompson)

I have never seen any particularly unusual birds there but always think it a shame that the more familiar species are overlooked by many of us because they are familiar; if, for instance, we had never seen
a Mallard before, surely we couldn't fail to be delighted by such a striking and entertaining bird!

Mallard Ducks

I think the same is true of the Moorhen with its comical feet and bold red frontal shield.


A Moorhen incubating eggs was observed by scientists, during heavy rain, covering itself with a sheet of polythene and then removing it once the rain had stopped!


In addition to the Snowdrops it was a delight to find another cheerful flower which I have always loved, the colourful Winter Aconite, a member of the Buttercup family, whose flowers open only while the sun is shining.

Winter Aconites

'Oh, the New-year's Gift a welcome flower!

For she gladdens the gloom of the wintry hour.

When a brief gleam of sunshine dissolves the first snow,
It is pleasant to gaze on her beautiful glow ;
At a time when no object in nature looks bright,
Save the golden hue of the Aconite.'
(Agnes Strickland)

I often hear (but rarely see) woodpeckers during visits to the lake but on this occasion there was no sign of one, however I will slip in a (poor) photo of one I saw there in November which I didn't get round to posting.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

There are always plenty of Great Tits to be seen there.

Great Tit

The song of the Great Tit has been found to change in noise polluted urban areas. Where there is low frequency background noise pollution, their song has a higher frequency than it does in quieter areas!

There is usually a Robin singing its little heart out to accompany our walk.


Sweet bird, on yonder leafless spray,
What means that song so blithe, so gay ?


The land which adjoins the lake is part of the estate of a manor house and has parkland which houses Red Deer. While not as exciting to see as the Roe Deer I recorded on an earlier post which were living totally in the wild it is still lovely to see these beautiful animals. Due to there being unsightly scaffolding on the house last week the following two photos were again taken during our visit in November but are a portrayal of what we saw last week without the unsightly metalwork.

Red Deer

How can anyone even contemplate killing magnificent creatures such as these for pleasure?

Finally I saw these Daffodils in bud, another sign that Spring is just around the corner.


I hope Spring is just around the corner where you live too... Enjoy the beauty of Nature, wherever you are.


  1. Hi Jan,

    Lovely photos, the snowdrops are lovely! I hope to see a carpet of them this weekend at a local priory :)
    Those daffodils are full of promise, I'm shocked to see mine are not far behind as they don't usually flower until April!

    Btw, I think you made a typo, the deer are red deer, roe deer are quite small with much smaller antlers (which I am sure you know)

  2. Hi Songbird :-)

    Everything is in bud now, just waiting for the first run of mild days before they burst open. Then we're off!!

    Good to see you've found your Bins and poetry book again, oh! and the camera :-)

    Stay well,

  3. Liz

    Hi Liz, thank you :) I'm sure you will have a lovely time looking at the Snowdrops.
    Thanks for the correction, silly me! I was so busy mentioning the Roe Deer I had seen in the wild that I got in a muddle.

  4. Hi Jan,
    The snowdrops are exquisite. The churchyard in the village is full of them at this time, and they look wonderful.

    I love mallards.....I always feel so honoured when they visit my garden. Every creature is special in its own right and has a place.....

    I cannot imagine wanting to shoot or kill any animal......I have never been able to understand how those that do, call it a sport. Sport!!!

    Jan.....aconites, oh aconites.
    I have planted so many, and somehow they always, but always, disappear. I have not found out why....maybe it is the rabbits, I am not sure. I really love them, and would be just so pleased to have them growing in the garden.

    A lovely spring post......well nearly spring post.

  5. a lovely post as ever. The sudden emergence of snow drops brings a smile to my face

  6. Lovely text, verse and pictures. I always look forward to your posts Jan! I'm glad you got to enjoy a little of a spring day. We had a 'spring' day on Saturday, the next day it rained for the duration, then we've had frosty nights. It's definitely on the way though, and it's great for it to be twilight when I leave work instead of pitch black!
    I love the pair of ducks, and the little moorhen.
    The Red Deer are beautiful - they always remind me of the Isle of Rum that Simon King did the feature on for Autumwatch.

  7. Hi Songbird! Your posts are always so lovely and well thought out with accompanying poetry! I loved your Winter Aconites and Snowdrops. Oh...to see flowers in the wild again. Soon enough ours will be here...(actually, not soon enough for me!) Your red deer are beautiful. So different from our White-tailed Deer...

  8. Wow that's incredible, you are already getting signs of spring, while we are still in the snow ;-) Grrrrrr!!!! I love tha mallard shot a lot, the light is exquisite... but the rest is also beautiful and I love the snowdrops pictures too! Superb!!

  9. Lovely to see that spring is on its way,It's so frustatingly slow up here in the pennines.

  10. The photos are splended, the Snowdrops, the Red Deer and the birds alike. Let us sing to everyone, happy spring, and it will be.

  11. Those Snowdrops and Aconites are beautiful Jan. Let's hope spring will be here soon.
    Love the shots of the deer too.

  12. Hi Jan , Always a pleasure to read your posting.It cheers me up no end

  13. awww today I was bitten by the spring bug but like you say I know its premature! LOVELY photos on your post today...the flowers, birds, and the DEER--Im like you I long for this horrible sport to be OUTLAWED world wide!! Hunting for FUN--wth kind of people are they?

  14. Hi Jan, thoroughly enjoyed your suggestions of Spring especially when you are quite a bit ahead of us here in Perthshire. Loved your mass woodland snowdrop planting :-)

    I agree completely re the mallards and moorhens. What an unusal story on the moorhen. Re the deer I agree completely. They look like they belong in a manor house setting just as much as a mountain one too. Enjoy the rest of your week. Hope OH's health is improving :-)

  15. This transition period between winter and spring is anything but predictable, I agree! Your snowdrops let me know that mine will eventually appear from the little green shoots that are about 1" up. Bird behaviour, such as that of the moorhen, is fascinating! Once again you have posted an eye-catching assortment of photos, sprinkled with your own lovely touches. Spring is coming...but it will be getting colder here in the next few days ... like below 0C. Perhaps our snowdrops should keep their heads down, and I'll just enjoy yours :)

  16. Another lovely post Jan. I do hope that when the ConDems have finished selling off our woodland that there will still be a place for the brilliant shows of snowdrops and, later, bluebells.

  17. Warren Baker

    Hi Warren, thank you :) I agree, it is so close now we can almost touch it, a great feeling!


    Hi Cheryl, thank you :) It must be amazing to have Mallards in your garden, I remember you telling us that you have them from time to time.
    What a shame that the Winter Aconites won't grow for you, I suppose it could be the Rabbits although I would have thought they would destroy them in the wild too. Could there be something in your soil which aconites don't like I wonder? They are such cheerful little flowers.


    Thank you Pete :) I love them too, such a welcome sight at this time of year!


    Thank you Dan :) I know...it's easy to be fooled by one good day but yes, the lengthening daylight makes such a difference and is a sure sign things are moving on!
    The Red Deer always look so powerful and majestic, lovely creatures. I enjoyed the Simon King reports too, a shame he decided to leave Autumnwatch.

  18. How lovely to see the drifts of snowdrops and the first signs of the daffodils! In our area it will be another month before any bulbs start blooming. March is our month for teasing--a nice spring day followed by the cold again.

    You asked about my amaryllis; I'm no expert on them, but they do like a good chilling before they begin to grow. Mine spent a few months in the cool garage before I brought it in. As for the leaves, the first year I had one, that's all I had--leaves and no blooms! It did bloom the second year, however. I'm beginning to think they do what they want, regardless of my care:)

  19. You have flowers coming up already??!! Wow! Wonderful photos Jan! I love the ducks and the deer especially. But then I'm partial to animals..Ha! We are having a couple days of nice warmer weather before the cold sets in again but I will enjoy getting out and pretending that spring is here.. I'm just happy to see another day, as we all are. Hugsss!!

  20. Beautiful images and such a relief that spring is just around the corner. You live in a lovely part of the world and I am now a follower of your delightful blog.
    Kind regards Andrew

  21. Very nice post as ever Jan and some lovely photos too. I really like to see a woodland floor with drifts of wild flowers, especially Snowdrops and Blue bells.
    I totally agree with your point about more common birds, I always think and have said before, that the Gt Crested Grebe falls into this category, amongst others of course.
    A lack of empathy is I think one of the traits which enables some people to kill animals such as Deer.

  22. Kelly

    Thank you Kelly :) Seeing those flowers was such a treat, I really wasn't expecting to!
    The deer are magnificent and always a pleasure to see.


    Thank you Chris :) It is great to see signs of Spring after the Winter started so early here. Of course there is no guarantee we won't have more hard weather but perhaps an early start to Winter means we will have an early Spring, well we can but hope ;)
    I hope you are continuing to feel much better now!

    Orchids and Nature

    Thank you very much David :) I hope you see some signs of Spring before too long.

    Bob Bushell

    Thank you Bob :) It can't come soon enough for me! The Snowdrops were a joy to see.


    Thank you Keith :) The flowers were an unexpected surprise and beautiful to see. They definitely put me in the mood for Spring.

    Mike Atwood

    Thank you Mike, that's a lovely comment and much appreciated :)

  23. Hi Jan. A lovely post plus poetry to lift our spirits in the hope that Spring is just around the corner. Very similar views up here but I haven't spotted any Winter Aconites yet. I agree that the common species provide just as much entertainment as finding something different.

  24. Dixxe

    Thank you Dixxe :) I really don't understand them, I have no idea how it can be called sport, it is totally beyond me. How they can have no feeling for the pain, suffering and right to life of our fellow creatures just beggars belief!


    Hi Shirl :) I hope Perthshire catches up soon, it's great to see signs of Spring after the Winter we have had!
    I was fascinated by the Moorhen story, to me it illustrates the fact that there is so much we still have to learn about Nature.
    Thank you, OH is inproving all the time :)
    Have a good week!


    Thank you Glo :) It is so good to see the beginnings of Spring but I fear we may not be 'out of the woods' yet, we could stil get a spell of hard weather!
    The Snowdrops in my own garden took a long time to show themselves, I think perhaps I should move them, I have had them a few years now but they don't seem happy in their present position and might benefit from being in a different part of the garden.

    Midmarsh John

    Thank you John :) I expect by the time you read this you may have heard that the government are abandoning their plans to sell our forests and woodlands. What wonderful news and a triumph for 'people power'!! Hopefully our Snowdrops, Primroses, Bluebells etc. are now safe :)

  25. Wow, the woods full of those snowdrops is wonderful.

  26. Rose

    Thank you Rose :) It is dull and cold here again today so I don't think Winter has done with us just yet but it is good to see the signs of Spring, I hope you see some soon!
    I think you are right about the Amaryllis doing what they want, I had an elderly neighbour who would plant hers in the garden after they had finished flowering in the house and they used to bloom beautifully in the late Summer but my sister-in-law has tried that several times without success, I really must try myself.


    Thank you Ginny :) Yes, we have and they are such a welcome sight! You, partial to animals? I don't believe it ;)
    I think we all have to grab the few nice days we get at this time of year, I hope you get plenty there.
    Thinking of you as always...BIG Hugs :)

    theconstant walker

    Hi Andrew :) Welcome and thank you for visiting and following my blog.
    It is indeed a lovely part of the world but then so is yours and one I am not familiar with so I will look forward to seeing more of it on your blog.


    Thank you Phil :) I agree and there is nothing quite like an English wood at Bluebell time!
    I think you are right about the G C Gs, they are such elegant birds.
    I wonder why some people have that lack of empathy though, perhaps they were never guided in the right direction as children...


    Hi Frank, thank you :) I do hope it is just around the corner, I think we all need it now after the early Winter we all endured.
    The Winter Aconites were a lovely sunny, splash of colour, a joy to see!

  27. Lovely post ShySongbird! I can't wait for Spring either, fingers crossed it won't be too long now :)

  28. Jan,

    You get more like Edith Holden with every posting.
    Spring is also beginning here on Sheppey, I had two Bumblebees fly into my conservatory yesterday. There are catkins starting to come out on the Goat Willows and the Yellow Water Iris is coming up above water level in the ditches.
    The deer hunting is not always for fun, often it benefits the herd by removing old or diseased animals.

  29. Beyond My Garden

    Hi Nellie :) Welcome and thank you for visiting and following.
    The Snowdrops were a lovely sight especially in the sunshine.


    Thank you Sharon :) I can't wait either, I think we all need it now.

    Derek Faulkner

    Thank you Derek :) I keep meaning to look at my Edith Holden book again, it is years since I read it properly.
    Phil also mentioned seeing bees yesterday on his new blog, I haven't seen any here yet.
    Yes, I can understand the removal of diseased deer and even farming them for food but as I emphasised on the post it is the desire to kill them for pleasure which mystifies me.

  30. Beautiful shots, the red deer are gorgeous. How lucky you are to have snowdrops in bloom.

  31. A lovely, cheery post, as always. Yes, spring is in the air. My favourite time of the year. Lovely photos.

  32. oldcrow61

    Thank you OC :) The Red Deer are beautiful! I hope you see some Spring flowers soon.

    Mike Mottram

    Welcome Mike and thank you for visiting, commenting and following my blog :) I do hope you visit again, you will be most welcome!


    Hi Angie, Thank you, it is my favourite season too, so much to look forward to :)

  33. hi jan, a most endearing post, it warmed the cockles of my heart to read it, hope you are keeping well

  34. Hi Jan, thanks for sharing your wonderful pics and poems. I get so excited this time of year as the temperatures start to rise, and the woodlands and hedgerows burst in to colour.

  35. denzil

    Hi Denis, that's lovely, thank you :) Like the rest of us I am looking forward to some nice Spring weather, I'm sure that will give us all a boost!


    Hi Andrew :) Welcome and thank you for visiting and commenting. It is a wonderful time of year, so full of hope and expectation!

  36. Hi Jan,
    Lovely pics of the snowdrops and beautiful flowers...infact just love your post and I can feel spring round the corner...

    Have a great weekend!!


  37. NatureStop

    Thank you Shantana :) I hope it is but it really doesn't feel much like it today, it is cold and wet here and some parts of the country had snow this morning! Perhaps it won't be too much longer...
    Enjoy your weekend too.

  38. Hi Jan...to live in a climate where the changes in seasons are more obvious is something I have never experienced. I can feel your excitement at the sight of the snowdrops (so beautiful) and the daffodil buds.

    I always enjoy going through the several pictures that you post. The winter aconites look so cheerful dressed in the sunniest yellow. Enjoyed going through the bird and deer photos. Love those antlers!

    At the flower show I had been to recently, there were daffodils on sale. I was tickled pink to see some of the cold climate plants blooming here. But only the nursery owners can manage that...it's very tough to grow such plants in our climate. Nevertheless it was a treat to see them!

  39. kanak7

    Hi Kanak :) Thank you. Yes, we certainly have well defined seasons here and it is always a joy after a long, hard and dreary Winter to see signs of Spring emerging.
    Daffodils are my favourite garden flower and of course we have the bonus that they grow in the wild also. Before too long they will be springing up everywhere, such a welcome and sunny sight! They are also the national flower of Wales.

  40. Dear Jan,
    These photographs have inspired me!
    As soon as the snow and ice melt I must take a walk in the woods...
    How anyone could kill a Red Deer is beyond my understanding...they are incredible animals.
    Winter is still dancing about in my gardens but I know Spring is waiting just off stage...
    Sherry, who misses the bees

  41. Q

    Thank you Sherry :) I don't understand how anyone can kill anything...I really don't...

    I do hope the weather improves for you soon and that you can walk in the woods again.

    I miss the bees too and even more I miss the butterflies... :)


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