February The Cruellest Month


Someone once called February the cruellest month. Whilst the weather this year is not dreadful for someone who anticipates the first signs of Spring it is a long wait. The first signs that spring is on the way are the birds. Even though it is still dark when I leave the house in the morning there is sound from every conceivable perch and vantage point. Great tits, robins, dunnocks, and a song thrush shout about their sexual availability and warn any rivals to vacate their territory. Once I arrive at work mistle thrushes rattle over the car park. A family of long tailed tits frequently search the silver birch trees, whilst a community of robins and dunnocks skulk under the bushes. During the day various species of gull land on the field and stamp around trying to encourage the worms to come to the surface. Occasionally a buzzard flies in and settles on the grass. A family of magpies haunt the bins on the paving outside as pied wagtails strut their stuff outside the building. One memorable afternoon I looked out to find a grey wagtail a few feet from the window seemingly unconcerned with the presence of people.

Funniest of all was the grey squirrel I see most mornings perched on the bin and eating scraps whilst the pieces he discards are pounced upon by a family of magpies gathered in a circle around the bins. By the time I drive home it is dark consequently it is the middle of the month before I realise that a transformation has begun in the garden the snowdrops are in flower.

Walking at Rufford looking for hawfinches I took some shots of the snowdrops

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Tthere are clumps in every bed some doubles and others the native ones. The catkins are present in the hazel tree shedding pollen as I tap them. I have to search to find the female flowers which are so much smaller.

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We went for a drive at the weekend and found a patch of winter aconites beside the road near Kilington. We had been to see the great northern diver. The aconites were mixed with snowdrops. I photographed them for you.

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For me they were a reassurance that spring is on the way and winter will not last forever.

Your loving mother

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