Well, it seems that spring is here at last. I’ve been keeping busy travelling the world with work lately. When I went away everything was frozen solid, and now that I’m back it’s thawed out, and allowed the first signs of spring to peep through.
Snowdrops are flowering down the lane, and the hazel catkins are out. The hawthorns in the hedgerows have the first small buds. In the vegetable garden I’ve finished the first planting of the year, so the potatoes, onions and beans have all gone in. Unfortunately one of my chickens (Clarissa) escaped and ate my winter cabbage. Frustrating, but a fairly regular occurrence in my kitchen garden.
The badgers and the foxes must be busy with young at the moment. I’ll wait until the end of the month and then I’ll see what they’re up to. The badger cubs won’t appear above ground until towards the end of April, but it will be good to get out and get up a tree again.
On a sadder note, there has been another badger killed on the roads. This makes it three that I’m aware of in the last year around our village. This latest casualty occurred in exactly the same place as the one in October (see The Grim Tithe Part 2). There’s been some discussion on the Wild About Britain forum on the subject of badger road deaths, and it seems that there is a peak at this time of year. I wonder if I can get the council to put up a sign? Given the speed that people drive down this particular road it probably wouldn’t do any good, but you never know.
To end on a happier subject, my garden bird twitching list has increased slightly. For the last month or so a woodpecker has been hammering on an oak tree just down the road. I guess he’s getting territorial for spring. I can hear him well enough, but I’m damned if I can spot him. There’s been a fieldfare hanging about recently, and my niger seed feeder has been taken over by a gang of siskins. Not particularly rare, but good-looking birds and new for me.