I have anxiously been listening out for the sounds of Spring – the birds are singing, the expected flowers are starting to show up in various places and it is therefore with some anticipation that I have been listening out every morning for the sounds of frogs singing in the pond.
Other people had seen frog spawn in their ponds weeks ago, I was beginning to wonder if it was the fact that I had a north facing garden or whether we had upset the frogs by renovating their home last Summer. We spotted our first frogs last week, and this morning we saw frogspawn. See the photoevidence – please accept my apologies for the poor quality.
Now the worry starts – we have had the pond for a few years now, but apart from some tadpoles from some imported spawn we have not had any tadpoles yet. The frost has usually killed it all off in the past, but we are hoping that the fact that we have deepened the pond and the spawn is near the bottom may give them a chance this year. Fingers crossed!
I decided that I would go for a spot of birdwatching today at the Country Park, although the black clouds and horizontal rain this morning did make me think twice.
However, the sun emerged in the afternoon, so I bade farewell to my long suffering beloved and set off with my ‘scope slung over my shoulder and headed east (on foot of course). Once again there seemed an absence of small birds at the park and very little birdsong to be heard above the roaring wind.
I edged out onto the dam clutching my ‘scope in the hope that we would anchor each other against the wind. The first thing that I noticed was the large number of wigeon around the edge of the water. The second, and slightly disappointing thing, was that the golden plovers seem to have moved on.
I moved down the dam to look at some of the birds further along and have subsequently decided that Winter has come early this year. I usually decide that Winter has arrived when the goosanders make it to the reservoir, last year this was around Christmas. Well, as you may have guessed they are here already, and in greater numbers, I counted 24 today, twice the number that I have seen before.
Time to get the thermals out?
Last Sunday it snowed here in Daventry (and in numerous other places in the Midlands). The snow settled, but had gone by morning. On thinking about this I cannot remember the last time I saw snow in November – it snows in April more than in November, and this time last year there were still Red Admiral butterflies about feeding on the ivy flowers.
The cold weather also seems to have brought increased bird activity in the garden. Although I am at work during the week my other half keeps me informed to the best of his ability (having only a beginner’s knowledge of bird types) of the number and varieties of birds that he sees during the day. This week he was trying his best to describe a bird that didn’t look like the other birds (his description was by necessity hampered by being colour-blind and I couldn’t decide what it was that he had seen).
Yesterday when watching a flock of 8 greenfinches in the tree I saw what I at first thought was one of the chaffinches that had been about earlier, but it didn’t look quite right. It flew away before I could confirm my suspicions, but came back later. Yes, said my beloved, that’s the one that has been in the garden for the last few days. As you may have guessed it was a Brambling (female I think) and the first time I have seen one (although I have always been hopeful as there seem to be a lot of sightings around). As this is the first time I have seen one in my garden, and it is November and the food out in the fields should not yet be too scarce I am wondering if this is a portent of cold weather to come this Winter.