Saturday, 19 April 2014

New Arrivals

Spring has moved on apace as far as the local plants are concerned . Blackthorn blossom has rapidly given way to the wild damson blossom which in turn is handing on the baton to the start of the hawthorn blossom. My apple and cherry trees are just starting to bloom too and the Bird Cherry in our wildlife garden is smothered in flowers.

The Cowslips too are a mass of nodding buttery yellow across the grass there too

Out on the marsh the Cuckoo Flowers are appearing, white from a distance but a subtle mauve close up.

 These flowers are so named as they are supposed to herald the arrival of the Cuckoo but summer migrants have still been slow to appear. The sudden chill edge to the now northerly wind probably hasn't helped. There was a sudden flurry of activity on Thursday with some brief showers seemingly pushing small numbers of hirundines ahead of them. Two Sand Martins passed by along with double figures of Swallows and my first Yellow Wagtail of the year lifted off from the edge of the scrape. A flock of 10 Feral Pigeons flew through too, my first of the year on the patch! Today a single Whitethroat was singing in a bush along the road. Meanwhile, up to 3 Short-eared Owls, birds I associate more with winter have been quartering the marshes in the early evening but one Swallow is waving the flag for summer, singing each morning on the wires near his usual nest site.
Our Lapwings suddenly became even more aggressive in the latter part of the week, chasing off even their erstwhile ally the Oystercatcher so I wonder if they may have finally hatched off some chicks. The female in that area is no longer sitting but the grass is too long to see if there might be chicks so it will be a case of waiting and seeing. Another bird is still sitting tight.
We also welcomed two new additions to the farm, this years batch of pigs, although just two this time. Christened Piddle and Puddle by my younger daughter, they are Oxford Sandy and Blacks crossed with a Welsh boar, hence the ginger tones

Our final lamb of the year arrived on Tuesday easing the work load. Most of our ewes and lambs are now out on the marshes, the lambs enjoying the opportunity on warm evenings to stretch their legs in manic races across the fields, always an entertaining sight.

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