Writing this, hunkered down in the Tiny House on a rainy Saturday afternoon it definitely feels like we are in for a change in the weather. It’s funny to think how frequently in our normal lives the weather is an irrelevance but now as it impacts our outside time it is all important. Wandering in the North Paddock between storms the smell alone made it worth the rain. A heavy floral scent bursting with new life and incredibly uplifting. Its almost like Mother Nature knew we needed a bit of cheering up!
Spring continues at pace this week beginning with welcome return of the first swallows of the season. A pair have been prospecting various nest sites at the Tractor Shed and down by the Hub. Doubtless they will ignore all the purpose-built nest boxes in favour of making their own! I look forward to watching them flitting over the meadows catching midges with a G&T in hand soon (my hand not theirs!).
Other bird highlights this week have included numerous sightings of oystercatchers and a hearing, no sighting yet, of a lapwing. Both species used to be prevalent on farmland in the area but numbers have sadly dwindled along with the hedgerows and fallow nesting grounds. We are ever hopeful of adding them to our family of ‘ground nesting birds’ here at Greenhillock.
Queen carder bees have been out and about in large numbers. Easy to distinguish from other bumblebees from their fluffy, all-ginger appearance, carders are often the first to emerge in Spring. Bumblebees are classified by the Genus ‘Bombus’ which I love. It always makes me think of the ‘bombastic’ way they appear to defy gravity by being able to fly!
Our trio of Roe deer have been making themselves at home with one spotted snacking on the duck food down by the Home Pond in broad daylight. Speaking of ducks, we are eagerly awaiting the slappity slap of little duck feet. Mallard female, Mrs Duck, who elected to nest in one of the raised beds at the front of the house is on day 27 of incubation which we understand is the last day before hatching. She has been incredibly steadfast while sitting, refusing to leave the nest in spite of curious dogs, the robo mower and even a visit from the window cleaners.
Hope everyone is keeping well and safe!
Lapwing (left) and Oystercatcher (right) images from RSPB as we haven’t managed to take our own… yet