Sunday, 26 February 2017

Slow spring

Cold weather has held back the onset of spring.  Snowdrops, crocuses and primroses have all been a little late this year and although some birds are starting nest building, there’s not much bird song yet.  Daffodils are normally in flower by St David’s Day and although some are out on shaded roadsides, the majority are still in bud.

In the woodlands, trees show signs of the awakening spring.   Carpets of new garlic shoots are beginning to spread over woodland floors, fighting for light amongst the dull greens of last year’s ivy leaves.  Hazel catkins and their attendant little flowers have been out for a couple of weeks already and the soft catkins of goat willow shine in a rare shaft of sunlight.  Green alder catkins, with tints of brown hang in clumps from branches, they too catching the morning rays of the sun.  There are closed buds on most trees, but horse chestnuts are showing signs of breaking out.

In some field margins and hedgerows, a few early meadow buttercups and common field speedwell flowers have appeared in the last week, and the odd coltsfoot gives another dash of yellow to an otherwise drab wintery picture. 

There seem to be lots of blackbirds about at the moment.  Six males in the garden this morning was unusual, and the fields by the wood is dotted with them.  I wonder if they are winter visitors preparing to move back to the Continent.

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