/ UKC springwatch
There was a brief period of snowfall in my village on Sunday night, the ground is cold and waterlogged, but there are signs!
Wood anemonies are cautiously opening, the ramsons are up, covering parts of the valley floor. Birds are busy fighting, foraging and at least other thing beginning with f.
As an antidote to all the rather depressing political threads let’s record and celebrate the (late) arrival of our glorious spring.
A local birder has seen a first swallow here in south Cheshire!
The Peregrines at Beeston castle are reported as nesting so we will start our work with them soon.
Long tail tits have abandoned flocks and are pairing up.
.........and the daffodils!
Walking in the Pentlands on Sunday, with a heavy-ish dusting of fresh snow on the heather, we were serenaded by not just one but two skylarks.
And of course there were new lambs in some of the fields lower down.
It's not quite dark at 21:00 (in Sutherland, anyway), and some of the gorse is flowering.
I haven't noticed any primroses, though, and the puffins haven't arrived yet.
There's a lot of frozen, white, frogspawn around, unfortunately.
Daffs have been out in the field next door for a month. Robins have laid eggs. Bees are out and about. Blackthorn is in bloom. Bluetits were investigating our nestbox a fortnight ago. Spring comes early here even though the weather's been poor and cold this year.
I spotted a grass snake and a common lizard basking in the sunshine on the nearby common. I expect the adders are out but haven't seen one yet.
Parakeet in Hillsborough on Friday - positively tropical
Live just to the north of Glasgow. My snowdrops finally flowered, the crocuses are on the cusp, the daffodils have emerged but not flowered yet and there are buds on the Forsythia.
I would be pleased except that I just spent a weekend with my parents in the south east where the snowdrops are long gone, the daffodils are well out and the Forsythia is in full bloom...
Ah well, there are other bonuses to living in Scotland!
> A local birder has seen a first swallow here in south Cheshire!
> The Peregrines at Beeston castle are reported as nesting so we will start our work with them soon.
> Long tail tits have abandoned flocks and are pairing up.
> .........and the daffodils!
I'm just over the way from you - the Dee is VERY high and many of the flood plains are...well...flooded. But we are getting a lot more bird activity and the fresh green colours are emerging. The woodpeckers nearby are going like billyoh!
From deepest Warwickshire, the daffs are of course fully out now, even in my less than sheltered "upland" garden. New shoots have emerged on some roses and the April flowering Rhodedendrons are not far behind, but clearly have a few weeks to go. The birds are looking around for food, woodpeckers hammering away in between their undulating flight across the garden, the deer have emerged from the woods and are nibbling on the lush grass, and the badgers ar emaking a right mess of the orchard!
In truth, we need a bit more sun and warmth but it's all on the cusp!
Spring!? We've had almost an inch of snow in the last hour!
The Birch Vale barn owls are back!
I can tell spring is here as the local sparrow population keeps attacking the primroses and eating the petals.
Spawning news: dots are becoming dashes in my pond.
Also, hooray for efts!
The calls of curlew and lapwing have returned to the uplands!
Time to start short-eared owl searching again.
I wasn't aware of the word eft until last year when we were pond dipping at my kid's school. It's a wonderful word, and if you google it prepare to sift through acronym soup until you get to some real meaning.
> Fornicating frogs
same to you
Is it all usually so late up there?
We generally seem to be about 2-3 weeks behind my parents in High Wycombe most years, so yes, we are a little later. This year is exceptionally late though.
> It's not quite dark at 21:00 (in Sutherland, anyway), and some of the gorse is flowering.
Gorse flowers all year round.
In east London we have had frog spawn in the pond for about a week, in the last couple of days or so skylarks have started singing in flight(they have been singing from bushes for around two weeks) and the local magpies are carrying sticks to a nearby tree.
> Fornicating frogs Batman!!
Yesterday I was stationary traffic on the M8 as a blizzard raged. Is that spring-like enough?
An awaited spring just gets longer and longer. It's UKcs law.
Saw water voles and little grebes down Cromford canal today.
The annual war on dandelions in the lawn will begin tomorrow. It would have started today but after the recent weather, it would have turned into a slutchfest.
Old-fashioned, but onomatopoeiacally apt, word, slutch.
The waiting is over; it’s ten past seven and the front door has been wide open for twenty minutes without shrieks of complaint about the draught.
However I still half expect another blizzard...
Dandelions! A mere trifle, my battle with ground elder has now begun again as the pernicious stuff has appeared once again in areas I rained hell on last year.
Having fought that battle, I feel your pain. The only thing that worked for me was digging out the area it was in and removing everything, to a depth of about six or eight inches below the roots. Damn hard work but ultimately worthwhile.
That’s what I’ve tried - it’s perversely satisfying!
Ha, I did not know that!
Acting out of disgust with Sheffield council and Amey chopping down trees across Sheffield I obtained half a kilo of ornamental poppy seeds last summer and spread them liberally all over Netheredge.
Now th sun is beginning to shine my thousands of little poppy seedlings are sprouting up everywhere I look
I have more seeds on their way for this year depending on how successful this first batch goes..
Excellent! More of that sort of eco-terrorism, please.
And if you could get them to grow entangled amongst the brambles in my garden too, that would be splendid.
Lapwings and Curlews among the snowfields in Glen Shee today.
Found this on wiki, my mother told a different version.
"When gorse is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion"
I've had swallow and willow warbler around Chesterfield over the last couple of days!
Spring really is here!
...and this is why cats are a bigger epidemic than an actual disease.
8 million cats in the UK, each 'takes' two song birds, at least 16 million song birds killed each year because of a cute cat.
Shoot 'em all (apologies if this is your cat).
Obviously the cats are doing a poor job of killing off the birds - still seem to be plenty about (166 million in 2012) after a millennia or two of cat ownership. We have removed most of the predators and provided vast amounts of special low level bird habitat (gardens). Get rid of the gardens and the birds will be safer or get rid of the cats and then the plague of rats (and mice aswell) will eat the birds instead?
My cat is in greater danger from the birds.
Cats may or may not have significant impacts (no scientific evidence so this discussion will be based on opinion) on bird populations and your point about gardens is a good one, but they aren't associated with an increase in bird populations are they?
Watch the video - is that blackbird really going to use that nest in Mr Meow keeps visiting every night? These figures of a failed breeding attempt obviously cannot and won't be recorded.
Cats are one of many factors, but given they are here because of humans their impact (or not) is directly attributable to us!
I live in a semi-rural area, a place where you would expect to find rats and mice, in fact I see them below my bird feeder - plague; I think not - cats in the area; yes.
Given the choice - I'd prefer not to have cats.
Walking over Dartmoor yesterday I was treated to a lovely display from a Skylark fluttering high above gaily singing his merry tune for perhaps twenty minutes. It made for a really lovely walk on a fine, if cool day at long last.
A cuckoo two days ago and today, 2 Ospreys here on the farm in the Trossachs
Great to see this thread running again.
We saw a Badger crossing the road near the Brevent telecabine the other day, maybe not big news for most folks in the UK, but seem to be quite rare in Chamonix (well the four legged variety anyway)
Loads of Crested tits, Siskens, Great tits etc on our bird feeder, and finally a nuthatch came and paid a visit yesterday.
Oh, and I saw a dipper in the river at Servoz on Wednesday.
One swallow might not make a summer, but 4 must go a long way towards it, which is what I saw on the Basingstoke canal on the Surrey/Hants border today.
Goose wars everywhere too.
Spent a while watching two otters playing today, then wandered along to watch some basking seals - not restricted to spring but def a spring feel in the air today
I saw a butterfly last week, C Scotland.
Lizard atop Beamsley Beacon last week Curlews in the Vale of York. Lapwing too
Dead badger just outside my allotment unfortunately, road kill.
There are cats, and then there are cats. We live in a rural location, and I was all on keeping mice and rats out of the house. Our cat is a bit lazy and very old. However, since new neighbours moved into the next property with a couple of semi feral bad-boy cats, then the rat and mice traps have gone virtually untouched. They’re not interested in birds, just vermin, and taking large numbers as presents for the neighbour’s dog. Given the size of some of the brown rats I used to see coming up from the Derwent, Then good luck to them!
Magpie dismembering a nestling in the garden this morning. Not a pleasant sight, but a definite sign that spring is here!
Choughs at Craig Caerfai.
We seem to have a new blackbird installing himself this year. Sometimes very quietly singing, sometimes singing a little more loudly from the tree in which lives a noisy chorus of sparrows - perhaps he's the choirmeister. What is nice is that he's the only one at the moment who remains on fences and watches quietly while we're about instead of just flying off.
The old stalwart died a couple of years ago
Birds taking the dogs undercoat that we leave outside for them. Bluebells out in the garden. Cut the grass.
Spring is very springy indeed.
Three eggs on the Osprey nest at Rutland.
Just back from Fontainebleau where the blackthorn was in flower in the woods, forsythia blooming in the gardens, the cuckoos, chiff-chaffs and redstarts calling, swallows and house martins on the wing, and the bluebells just coming.
That's part of the joy of the spring trip to Font - as important as the conviviality of bouldering, pastries and wine, it gives me two tastes of the cherry.
Back in Scotland.... although the forsythia is out in my garden and the blackthorn just starting, the cuckoos, swallows, house martins, chiff-chaffs and redstarts are all somewhere south still, and the bluebells likely almost a month away. Of course I'll rejoice in the arrival of each in turn, but at the same time I'll mourn the passing of time that they each represent. They cannot come soon enough... but when they arrive I'll wish they were arriving tomorrow. As soon as the glorious promise of spring is kept it feels like it has been broken.
If I could I would spend all my days chasing spring around the globe, trying to catch each nighttime napping at noon. MacNeice, as always, has the genius of it in his poem "August":
The shutter of time darkening ceaselessly
Has whisked away the foam of may and elder
And I realise how now, as every year before,
Once again the gay months have eluded me.
For the mind, by nature stagey, welds its frame
Tomb-like around each little world of a day;
We jump from picture to picture and cannot follow
The living curve that is breathlessly the same.
While the lawn-mower sings moving up and down
Spirting its little fountain of vivid green,
I, like Poussin, make a still-bound fête of us
Suspending every noise, of insect or machine.
Garlands at a set angle that do not slip,
Theatrically (and as if for ever) grace
You and me and the stone god in the garden
And Time who also is shown with a stone face.
But all this is a dilettante’s lie,
Time’s face is not stone nor still his wings;
Our mind, being dead, wishes to have time die,
For we, being ghosts, cannot catch hold of things.
In reply: has anyone else noticed a lack of robins since the beast from the east? there used to be several that always came to feed at a local site (north east) that i stop by at most days- haven't seen any since, and only one sighting in my garden.
on the bright side a pair of bull finches have become regular visitors to my table
No eggs yet for the Beeston Castle Peregrines
........did here a cuckoo though.
Warm sunshine on the station platform in the morning; commuters just a little less grumpy than usual.
Glorious day here yesterday in the far south west.
I spent the day swinging my scythe down the allotment*, and weaving willow bowers into windbreaks. Walked my dogs over to Ballowall barrow later on.
Heaven, the UK is such a beautiful place.
Just seen 2 large bumblebees apparently waking up. Right at the top af a small tree/large shrub. Motionless in the shadows, the first started moving as the sun warmed the place it was occupying, legs starting to move slowly in a grooming movement as if washing itself, then a vibrating abdomen for a minute or two followed by a sudden departure. The other one was warmed by the sun a little later and went through the same process. There was a little dew visible on the surrounding vegetation so I wondered if they had been "sleeping" if that term has any meaning in the insect world.
Saw some swallows in West Yorkshire today - Hebden Bridge area. Shouldn't be too long before the pairs that nest in our neighbours eaves come back.
Counted 13 bees on last nights run.
Lots of wild garlic shoots poking up in the woods near Crows nest quarry too. Lovely evening run smells shall soon be here
On my way to work this morning, I saw:
A couple of llamas.
Not sure either is particularly seasonal.
Think I missed it!
Did we not just transition from Winter to Summer? Do not pass Go do not collect £200 ?
> I saw a butterfly last week, C Scotland.
I got a dislike for this! Have I joined the ranks of those with dislike stalkers?
it would make sense for the birds to sleep where the bees sleep
Saw the first Willow Warblers yesterday on Lismore. Heard a Snipe drumming this evening, love that sound.
Yes, the sound of snipe drumming is strangely, dreamily, wonderful isn't it? Ethereal is the word: it sounds more like a ghost or a soul than a bird, and seems to snatch one out of time.
I heard the first willow warblers in Torridon today. But no snipe.
Yeah, Yeah. Taps aff at lunchtime in Huddersfield town centre today.
Only jackets aff in Torridon. You win. Any snipe outside Wetherspoons at all?
I heard a Cuckoo at High Neb this evening.
I had to cut my grass last night, spring growing season has obviously started
There was a starling sitting on my roof this week imitating the screech of a swift. I can't wait to hear that for real.
No snipe, but a few rough looking birds outside both Spoons, certainly.
Climbing at Dyserth waterfall crag today both Nuthatch and Dipper were nesting in holes in the rock. First Orangetips too.
Cuckoo on Dumyat this morning and truly uplifting to see a solitary house martin scything around the house this morning under a cloudless sky...
Large numbers of Touristii Lakelandii seen on Blencathra this morning, some even on Sharp Edge
Yesterday saw my first swallows of this summer (up in Wester Ross)
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