Warmer days has set off spring in the garden, and there are gentle changes afoot. The grass is shooting up, the willow tree will burst into light spring-green soon, buds are showing on the St John’s wort, and flowers have appeared on the heather by the pond. Winter redwings are long-gone, the garden is now left to resident blackbirds and a song thrush that pops in from time to time. Goldfinches sing front and back, but only a few take seeds from the feeders, with the large winter flock now out and about in the surrounding countryside. Greenfinches wheeze in the conifers, but as yet I see no song flights. Chaffinches come and go, males looking quite beautiful now, with one singing daily at the bottom of the garden. Dunnocks sing more, midges fly, frogs are active in the pond, and bumblebees visit. Cold days can put everything back, but as the equinox gets closer, spring is gradually winning.
I lift the lid of the nest box to find blue tits have been busy; the nest is not complete, but already a soft green lining of moss is in place. There won’t be any eggs just yet, it’s just a message to spring that they’re ready to go. Robins too have started building, the nest as usual in a hole in the brick wall of the old stable block. I can usually find these early nests, but they’ll defeat me later when the leaves are out.
Soon I’ll need to rescue the garden from winter, clear away fallen branches, take out the lawn mower, cut back the shrubs, and begin the never-ending task of trimming hedges. I can then settle down, wait for the house martins to return, and the first hedgehogs under the night-light by the willow.