Monday, 25 March 2013

Really, this is snow joke.

I finished my last blog on an optimistic note, prattling on about buds unfurling and so on. In fact a couple of days later I was feeling even more hopeful, with Spurge Laurel (Daphne laureola) displaying its unassuming but sweetly-scented blossoms. O foolish man!

Spurge Laurel Daphne laureola. Byfield, 18 March, 2013

Snowy scenes beside the A361. Byfield, 25 March 2013
Fast-forward just a few days and the picture has changed utterly. Snow, borne on a bitter east wind, has blanketed the landscape and created oddly contorted drifts beside the A361. One bank of snow, some 3-4 feet high, has piled up against a hawthorn hedge and seems likely to be there for several days yet. Gulls and corvids wheel above, seeking bare ground from which they may glean a little food. I suspect rooks will face a particularly difficult time; they are among the earliest of birds to nest and, should any be sitting on eggs, the next few days will put either the adults, or the eggs, in danger. Very small birds such as Long-tailed Tits have a high mortality rate in these conditions and I must keep our bird-feeders well stocked up. Luckily the stream still flows strongly through our garden, so water is not a problem. However, the pond is frozen solid so any frogs or toads will have to put mating plans on hold.

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