Wednesday, 14 February 2018

without end ...?

Snowdrop - Galanthus nivalis
Winter aconite- Eranthus hyemalis
The winter stretches on without end.

Innumerable days when we have been unable to work outside due to poor weather.

There have been times over the last week when we've worked in the rain and snow and must have resembled an open prison work party. More of a gulag than a garden. I don't think that prisoners would work in such conditions.
Viburnum tinus

Rain has filled the barren pond which frequently lies frozen. Our local farmer-friend has given me another IBC (large 1000 litre water storage cube) and I need to site this so that I can harvest the plentiful winter rains for summer vegetable and fruit garden irrigation.
Viburnam bodnantense

Frost waits for us as we open the curtains. Stored apples have frozen.
Carrots, celeriac and leeks lifted from the Vegetable Garden are determined to make us pay for ripping them from their winter beds and maliciously numb the fingers.

Wind has prevented us from bird ringing and our moth recording has also been affected. The arrival of a bewitching grandson has been a glorious distraction.

Although winter keeps a tight grip, there is lots happening.
Gorse- Ulex europeas

Crocus chrysanthus
Hazel Coryllus avellana 'Nottingham cob'
Cyclamen coum
The bird feeding we have been doing has resulted in hundreds of finches including goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, lesser redpolls, siskins and bullfinches. The garden trees ring with their songs. My sister had a record 24 chaffinches feeding beneath her feeders in the week. We have a small community of tree and house sparrows using the drive seed feeder that is planted snugly against the tightly cut privet hedge. The musical chirrup of the tree sparrow - such a treat. They are prospecting for nesting sites.

Red dead nettle Lamium app
We hope to ring birds this weekend and I have placed a newly-constructed bird table trap beneath Judith's feeders in the hope of enticing chaffinches to enter. Only pheasants have shown interest so far but Judith sends frequent updates as small birds become more bold. The trap is humane and the occupants should feed without stress until being ringed.
Sarcacocca confusa

Lonicera fragrantissima
Stock doves are taking an early interest in the large nesting box in the Woodland Garden. I avert my eyes and keep my head bowed as I visit the hens - stock doves are highly sensitive to disturbance at the nest.

No bumblebee or butterfly records yet although honeybees have been active around their hives. A stoat paid an electrifying visit. Manic. Energised.

Witch hazel - Hammamelis x intermedia
Kestrel and sparrowhawk too: the number of small birds an obvious attraction.

Primrose - primula vulgaris
But last years tawny owl nest box has been occupied by grey squirrels. I'm hoping they only have a short term let.
Galanthus elwessii

And flowers are appearing.

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