Saturday, 24 March 2012

Spring has sprung 2012


Spring has sprung, the grass has ris’,
I wonder where the birdie is?

There he is up in the sky,
He dropped some whitewash in my eye!

I‘m alright, I won't cry,
I'm just glad that cows can't fly!

Spring is coming on apace and there has been activity in the pond.
In my Easter bonnet . . .
Look into my eye! See the humans' house. 
We have not heard the great chorus of frogs that has been customary in the past and there are certainly not hundreds of them in the water. They started calling later this year and are still croaking now so something has changed in their world. Overall, numbers have been dropping over the last three years and this spring they are sadly depleted.
Nonetheless, they have laid great swathes of spawn which appears to be developing healthily.
One thing that is really flourishing is the duckweed (Lemna minuta) The plant mass can double in size every two to three days during the summer but in our pond it dies away almost completely in the winter. We keep it under control by raking it off the surface and composting it. I don’t object to it – its little leaves are quite pretty and provide some shelter to frogs and fish.
We have daffodils aplenty and strong, bright grape hyacinths (Muscari) Our first early-flowering tulips have appeared and I noticed forget-me-nots this morning. 
 Nectarine (Prunus persica variety nectarina)
The nectarine on the patio will look stunning if all the hundreds of buds open. Two days ago there was one flower; today there are many more bursting.

A week ago it was the woodpeckers that were most audible, drumming on the trees. In the last couple of days the crows have been extremely vocal. Our feeders are well patronised. Long-tailed tits, blue tits, great tits and coal tits flit in, cheeping and cocking their heads, always keeping an eye open for enemies. The starlings continue to squabble and scream at each other in a friendly sort of ‘we love to hate each other’ way. Wood pigeons stumble onto the fat cakes and magpies and robins and nuthatches fly in to sample the feast. Blackbirds search for wriggly meals and sound their alarm calls at the first hint of danger. After a noticeable absence last year, when I saw just one collared dove, I have already seen a pair this year and hope they will return to nest in the garden.

The fur I’ve groomed from the dogs waits to be collected by the tits for their nests, and butterflies – those ‘self-propelled flowers’ (R.A. Heinlein) - dance in the sun and settle occasionally for a photo call.
The Comma (Polygonia c-album) is one of the first butterflies to be seen, appearing from late February. Much of the males’ time is spent looking for a mate – are the females playing hard to get? It’s interesting to reflect that a century ago the Comma was a rare sight but now is common throughout England and Wales and may soon colonise Scotland. A few have been spotted in Ireland in recent years. It’s good to hear of their success.
seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)
Cobwebby seven-spot ladybird
We have seen many seven-spot ladybirds, too, the commonest in Europe. Perhaps this means a summer full of aphids . . .

This is such a beautiful time of year when all things are full of life and growth and each day brings more treasures to light. The world becomes brighter and more colourful with every passing day and everything, birds included, looks as if it has been freshly painted.

16 comments:

  1. LOL, better a bird than a cow for sure!!!! This is my laugh for the day.

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  2. You have a lot of tits (giggle) in your garden ;-) Loved this post. Spring has definitely sprung over here too. Makes one smile doesn't it?

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  3. Funny prose Janice, I actually chuckled out loud. Loved all these beautiful spring photos, thanks so much.

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  4. Great post-better than 'Springwatch'! I love the frog photos-especially the close up with the reflected house in the eye.

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  5. My husband told me this morning it is officially Spring in England now. How lovely - you get it much earlier than Canada. I love the duckweed. It is so dainty and looks so cute on the frogs. I can see why the butterfly is called a comma. I've never heard of that kind before. I'm glad they are doing so well.

    How interesting there is a ladybug that has seven spots - always! New to me also. Have a lovely weekend!

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  6. They are some photogenic frogs. Good to see the warmer weather is greeting you, too. Continental US was very warm this winter, but I understand that over in Europe it was a colder than normal winter, although I am not sure if that applies to England?

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  7. Hi Janice .. love your photos and descriptions .. good to get an overview of Spring as it wends its way in to 2012. I hope the frog spawn can live through .. some creatures are definitely struggling ..

    We had a rash of midges out in January - I gather so that they get a chance to breed before the new hatchlings arrive on the nest and they're guzzled up!

    Great Spring selection .. Hilary

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  8. It's so lovely to see all these wonderful signs that Spring has finally sprung. We hope the tadpoles all grow well and join the other froggies in the pond :)xx

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  9. Something of a roller-coaster ride, this, the fun start, much enjoyed, then the sadness of the frogs and the beauty of the finish. You are right, of course: it's a fantastic time of year. Thanks.

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  10. The frog picture showing his head is so adorable ! We have wonderful weather too ! 21° since 2 days and sunshine since more than a week and apparently it will continue ! Hopefully at least until Easter included because we want to spend it with Dario and family. We haven't seen Toby since Christmas only through Skype.

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  11. Lovely pictures! I love Spring! I live in front of a park and, late at night when the road's gone quiet, I can hear the chorus of frogs too. Very soothing, I find.

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  13. What a beautiful post, I love the gorgeous photos, they are really wonderful!

    'I'm just glad that cows can't fly!' - made me smile! It has been years since I heard that. :-)

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  14. Gorgeous photos! Slightly worrying that the frog numbers are down. I hope it's just something that's specific to this year.

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  15. Love your photos and prose about spring. It's good to see spring sprung in a country which is not a tropical country!

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  16. Definitely spring with all this activity

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