12/02/18- A hint of spring.
Even as the lightly powdered snow shows that winter still has not lost its icy grip, the bright morning sun, radiating against the trees like fire brings warmth and hope that spring is not far away. It turns the rural Herefordshire landscape golden in its low light, melting the snow to small patches in secluded shadowy places churned up by the feet of small mammals as they hungrily search for ever sparser food in this frozen aged landscape. The road ahead is overrun with water and ice, a slushy mixture which makes one step safe and the other dangerous. Chaffinches, blue tits and great tits chirp and squeak from the bushes of a rural garden, occasionally braving the open air to hang briefly upon a birdfeeder, their small heads turning sharply this way and that before retreating back to their flock. Above gangs of crows intermittently fly over like arrows, sharp with precision and a seemingly direct focus upon where they are heading.
A male and female blackbird feed side by side, picking up decayed leaves from the bottom of hedgegrows, pausing and then tossing them away with a flick of their heads to pick up another. They are searching for invertebrates and mollusc’s, small creatures which would have sought protection from the frost beneath the leaflitter. The disturbance of our footsteps causes the male to fly off with a rattling alarm call into the wood beyond. Behind him the Snowdrops sway ever so slightly in the air currents of his creation. The others along the road verge nod occasionally as we pass, but most remain stationary as if frozen in time.
Above my head, Buzzards wheel and shriek in an aerial dance, their bright light wings turned orange by the rising light. They shriek to one another and dive, three together competing for the chance to breed once the warm weather arrives. I stop and watch as they glide and plunge at one another on the thermals. The largest of the three (the female I presume) stopped to rest upon the top branches of the woodland oak, whilst the other two continued their dramatic display. Every so often she let out a mewing call, sometimes met with a shrieking reply. After the confrontation between the two flying buzzards had lasted so long, one flew off and away, beyond a farmhouse and out of sight. Satisfied, the other wheels over the woodland and away.
In the orchard, Feildfares shriek, agitated with energy. I watch as they flutter from to tree to tree, squabbling between themselves and wonder if the itch to migrate is starting to kick in. Redwings flutter among them and then group together to fly off and away to other food sources.
In the air there is a noticeable warmth. It is a warmth that brings with it joy that soon the cold clutches of winter will soon release their strength, allowing life and colour to seep back into the countryside once more. The fieldfares and redwings will have left to holiday in the long days of Scandinavian summer and others will have migrated in to take their place. They do not know of the British Spring, nor the change that it brings to the landscape, only of the berries and fruits that lasted them throughout the cold winter.
As I head back to the house, another pair of buzzards wheels above. I wonder where they will nest in a few months time. The buzzard is by far the most common bird of prey seen in this landscape in recent times, and I am pleased. A species once so endangered it was rarely seen it is now in greater numbers than I have witnessed before. I hope that other species will be able to share the same success once having been brought back from the brink.
01/01/2018 – Happy new year
Ok, so it’s a new year and time to start afresh. In 2016 I started a blog, called ThatBirdBlog, which has since fallen into abandonment. I am now starting another, though this one shall not be updated nearly as frequently (A levels are currently taking over my life.)
As I write this, a flock of house sparrows are happily hopping around the hedge beside my skylight. I woke up to their chirping alongside the splattering of rain on glass this morning. As I write this sentence I can also hear the caw of a corvid of some kind, which I believe is most likely a magpie.
I have done a lot of amazing things this year and seen many amazing birds, such as my first nightjar at the BTO birdcamp, a peregrine falcon that flew alongside my college bus, the dusky thrush that appeared in Wales, a barn owl in daylight once again at the BTO birdcamp and a nice treat of a tawny owl that we stopped to look at on a dark country road late at night. BTO birdcamp was great, I got to experience many surveying techniques, see birds I have never seen before and meet friends I have only ever spoken to online as well as others I had no contact with beforehand.
It appears there was a lot of dancing last night. I went to bed at 11:20 after watching a film, my night was clearly not as exciting as others haha.
Onward to 2018, a year in which I hope to do a lot.
So this summer I have an animated short planned based upon the problem of ocean plastic. Unfortunatly I cannot start working on it until spring, once again due to a-levels, but look out for the poster which will be released beforehand. I already have a vision for the style of the animation and it will be set to one of my poems. This is a cause I feel passionate about and I wish to spread the word on the situation, its implications and what could potentially be done about it.
I have an idea for a painting project based upon the local gull colony that I wish to complete. It involves multiple paintings on canvas and sketches of gulls in the local environment and how it is similar to their natural coastal environment.
I also plan to finish In The Night episode 1 or at least make a lot of progress on it.
One of my paintings is to be in an exhibition, known as the #200fish project, something which is very exciting for me.
Hopefully I will being doing many other things!
A happy 2018 to you the reader!
17/12/17 – I have decided to restart my nature blog, but on this site! I will probably begin posting again next spring after exams, so stay tuned! 🙂