Signs of Spring?

I’ve been dreaming about Spring for what seems like months, and in the last two weeks it has been peeping out and tempting me with brief Spring-like days (or even just hours) but today was full-on proper Spring. It will probably disappear again tomorrow – so I charged round the garden lapping everything up!

At breakfast I watched a pair of song thrushes collecting moss and twigs from under the magnolia, returning again and again to a patch high up in the thick hedge. I wonder if it’s the same pair that fledged young last year. I hope so…

My 3 year old pond exploded on the 10th February with the sound of 40 mating frogs. It was like all the frogs of Corfe Mullen had suddenly decended on my garden. Last year “0” frogs – this year 40! The noise was just delicious.

For a couple of days I set up my portable hide next to the pond just so that I could disappear down there in the evening and sit listening to their earthy croaks, while watching them with my little torch – their eyes lighting up like stars against the black water. There’s still a couple of frogs left but mainly there’s just spawn. So much spawn it’s bulging out of the water as in places it’s 6 inches deep.

The crocus and snowdrops are out. I’ve been waiting for ANY insects, but up to now nothing. Today, with the warm (yes warm!) sunshine they arrived. Honeybees, bumblebee (a single Bombus terrestris – buff tailed bumblebee), hoverflies and most excitingly a beautiful peacock butterfly and a glimpse of a vivid-lemon-coloured male brimstone.

While the insects fed, I dug. We got rid of an awful conifer hedge last year that cut across our garden, today I started to plant a “native” hedge in its place. Beech, oak, hawthorn, blackthorn, honeysuckle and holly at last out of their pots and into the earth. Very small plants – mainly dug up from around the garden or given to me by friends (from their gardens!) but it’s a start.

A couple of nights ago I realised that we had a small starling roost in the garden. I was filling the bird feeders at dusk, heard a noise, looked up and watched about 20 starling drop into our unruly laurel hedge. I’m not surprised I didn’t know they were there because they arrived so suddenly, blink and I’d have missed them.

I thought I’d watch them fly in to the roost tonight (I think I was actually too late and they’d already arrived) but while I stood in the garden listening to the blackbird and song thrush’s belting dusk-chorus, a pipistrelle bat flitted around the tops of the trees, joined by a second a few minutes later. Now I’m sitting here typing this post and a tawny owl is woo-ing outside the window – perfect way to end a perfect Spring day…

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8 thoughts on “Signs of Spring?

  1. Lovely post Jane. Up here in Hull things are much more subdued. A honeybee tried to feed on the Hyacinths on the windowsill (inside) and was dissapointed. Today the first Tet-a-Tete daffodils on the garden opened and little else.

    • Thanks “Blackbird”! Poor ole honeybee – I bet it had a headache! I’ve noticed a few daffs coming out locally – but my garden ones are a way off yet. Lots of birds in the garden today… but no insects as we had quite a few showers. Still, nice to see the signs of spring emerging at last.

  2. Hi Jane,
    Very interested to hear about your frogs…..how strange that they have returned after a year’s absence.
    I haven’t seen any bees or butterflies up here yet: but I have seen a couple of ladybirds and a lacwing adult, so it has obviously been just about warm enough for some insects.
    The contrast with last year is very noticeable, with garden flowers about a month earlier than 2010. My tete-a-tetes are out too, and crocuses and snowdrops, but nothing else yet.
    Peter

    • Yes, I can’t really understand it. I guess we are ahead due to the warm (relatively) February (even though we had a cold winter). There seems to be an explosion of 7 spot ladybirds in Dorset at the moment, and even a few hedgehog sightings in the last week.

  3. Jane, your garden really does have it all. You even have your very own starling roost!

    I look forward to reading many more of your posts as Spring turns to Summer – or am I just thinking too far ahead now! 😉

    Steve

  4. Spring is very welcome after this long winter – we were up in yorkshire last week and when at Malham, it was just fabulosa. Not long now until we all complain it’s too hot Jane 🙂

    • Thanks! Just in the process of doing a “bee” post – but having difficulty IDing the bee! Just great to see some buzzing around the garden again at last. I can’t wait until it’s too hot! 🙂

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