Nature Report – W/e 16th Feb 2014

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.
–  Edith Sitwell

I realised I hadn’t written any nature update since mid January.  Although I was away for some of January and got a few good walks in, I realise that back home I have not been able to go for a good walk since.  Nor have I even pulled my camera out to use.

February has been nothing less than dark and grey, in all senses of the description.  I’ve really felt how the weather has impacted on me this month and it’s keeping me more indoors than out.  Times when I have gone out have been very much spent in the garden getting some gardening projects under way.  On very windy days, even a short walk has felt like going into a fight.

Weather

It’s not many places in the UK that haven’t suffered from either flooding, gales or both.  In NE Lincs it feels like there has been shower after shower of rain.  It’s been relentless some days.  On others there has been scant periods of blue skies followed by whole nights of rain.

Gale force winds ripped over the local area on Friday and Saturday leaving a couple of trees nearby precariously pointed at 45 degree angles.  Its sad to see the tree’s being cut down.

All in all it’s been quite difficult to keep chipper these last couple of weeks with all this nasty weather.  I was beginning to think we were possible entering some kind of apocalypse.  That was until I read a couple of old nature journals which joyously brought me back down to earth.

Not only is rain quite usual for February but it’s intensity and frequency are to be expected (unless you live in the flooded areas of course).  In fact the word February is derived from the Latin februarius which actually means purification due to the festival that happens on the 15th of the month.  To cleanse the earth, which is most certainly happening at the moment.  Floods are most certainly not unusual but in past times would have been most notable felt in fields and low marsh areas.

It’s also quite usual to have days of sharp winds and cold nights but having most days being warmer than previous winter months – all of which has been happening.

So actually spending some time reading about the weather made me feel a lot better, rather than being on heightened alert as the news on TV constantly reports.

My assumption of how bad the weather has been, against the reality of what’s really happening (locally) is starkly poles apart which is why spending time reading about meteorology and getting actual weather readings is extremely useful.

Habitats

Due to the weather I’ve stayed mostly indoors with any time outside being in the garden.  However just the garden has presented much amusement and some interesting sights.

Birds

The bird feeders are alive with constant feathery traffic (feeders and table are being filled twice a week at the moment).  Sparrows, great tits, blue tits, robins, blackbirds, ring neck doves and wood pigeons.  To add to that I’ve also noticed a little brown wren flitting low around the garden a couple of time in the past week which I’m really happy about.

At the moment there isn’t much cover for the wren to spend long in the garden but something must be bringing s/he back.  I’m wondering if it’s the gnats I’ve seen buzzing about just above the lawn, on a sunny afternoon?

Trees and flowers

I’ve just planted a native hedge in our front garden so I’m acutely aware of the still dormancy of many plants, flowers, trees and shrubs.  But having said that while they may all appear to be dormant in actual fact life if beginning to start, albeit very slowly, once again to the surface.  The hellebores is flowering, the perennials are starting to show above the soil and the trees are beginning to show signs of life.

Snow drops are just starting to flower, while all other bulbs like daffodils, crocus and alliums and showing more and more green every day.  Bulbs planted in sheltered areas of the garden are growing faster.

Mammals

I’ve noticed the grey squirel is getting quite bold in the garden now.  He’s spending longer periods of time in the garden hunting out bulbs or trying to get the peanuts out of the holders.  He’s come right up to the window on a couple of occasions to make sure he’s not missing anything and has also taken a fancy to picking up a sunflower seed from the bird table and sitting on the table roof to eat it.

He has to be pretty alert at all times from the cat predator that comes to visit every morning.  On more than one occasion I’ve seen the cat chasing the squirrel over fences and roofs.

____________________

Cover Photo courtesy of Virginia (Ginny) Sanderson

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2 thoughts on “Nature Report – W/e 16th Feb 2014

  1. Well I’m from Yorkshire where the saying goes:
    February fill-dyke
    Fill it wi’ eyther black or white
    March muck it oot
    Wi a besom and a cloot.
    So yes February is supposed to be wet. But perhaps not as wet as this. It will take more than a cloot to mop up the floods all over the country.
    We are getting extremes of weather now all over the globe.

    Like

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