Today I mowed some of the lawn for the first time! Yes, I know it is early but it has been the first chance since October because of all the rain. The grass was just dry enough with a couple of rainless days, sun and a drying wind.
There was a frost this morning and last night the northern sky was bright - could not see the Aurora Borealis because of light cloud but it was there.
I have divided some of the snowdrops already and replanted, still in the green, in multiple small clumps. Moss on the paths has had its first assault.
This is a view from the top banking looking down on the house. My study is the window shown. There is one of the feeders in the middle right and the bulbs on the banking are coming out - daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses so far. This is the back of the house and the door shown comes from the living room out onto the paved area. You can see the chimes we bought last year seemingly suspended in mid air, top right. They are hanging from a branch of a large ash tree.
So, now for some of the snaps taken from my study window starting with goldfinches. These feeders are hanging on the small shed in the top photograph. The seeds used are a mixture of black sunflower and nyger. The birds are so gaudy, far too exotic for England, but then see below, this is not the only stunning plumage.
To talk about something else for the moment - we are approaching the spring equinox in about three weeks time and the garden is romping ahead of itself. Iberis are flowering as are many other plants and I am worried that all may turn out bad yet.
I am also concerned that the birds are beginning to nest early - however this does give them more time through the summer to have successive broods. So here I am snapping away through my window images which will do for this blog but would never be good enough for magazines etc today - the standard is sickly high and I am too lazy to spend all day at it (photography I mean.) (Actually have just had a payment from Getty Images for a couple of my shots - Wast Water I can understand but a lenticular cloud over Queenstown in new Zealand - ?)
So, here is another stunner - this is a male Greater-spotted woodpecker. When he arrives all the other birds leave the feeders and wait. You can tell it is a male by the red patch on the nape of its neck. Unfortunately they are also partial to a chick or two and will drill into wooden nest boxes to get their lunch. The holes on our boxes are fitted with metal plates around the entrance hole but this does not stop them pecking a way into the side of the box. As for open boxes as for robins - well - lunch on a plate.
So to the delightful dance and twitter of the long-tailed tits. Their bodies are smaller than that of a blue tit and there is actually one outside now.
Of course there are also non avian intruders - yes, here we go again, Mr (or Mrs) Teeth of steel. Despite the red tail this is a grey squirrel.
And then the ground feeders come in - chaffinches, dunnocks and blackbirds amongst others.
This chappie was chasing, and being chased by, another cock blackbird. They were having a real ding-dong. It is sitting in the fig tree - in a pot outside my window.
C and P arrive tonight for a wedding tomorrow in The Midland Hotel in Morecambe - Art Deco masterpiece that featured in Poirot on the TV.
And I will finish with the classiest of all the strutters - old man pheasant. No wonder his feathers adorned hats.
Time for a Heineken and some garlic sticks.
Happy birthday Roly.