Spring at last!


Who is tripping our security light? Every night this last week our light at the back comes on. We look out and no one is there. But last night when the moon was bright, we saw the ‘culprit’. It is a hedgehog. Awake from its hibernation it was scurrying along and snuffling so may have been looking for a mate. It is that time of year.

We have had the spring equinox, so our days are now slightly longer than the night and will keep on increasing in length until the summer solstice. Spring has started and astronomical (20 March) as well as meteorological (1st March) dates have passed. Not that the hedgehog cares once he is awake, he knows what he must do regardless of the date.

The frogs know what to do as well. Yesterday I strolled down to my little pond hidden away at the bottom of the garden and I saw the water heaving, as if a little earth tremor was moving the water. It was the frogs and maybe the earth was moving for them as they mated. Some frogspawn had already floated to the surface of the pond and the jelly surrounding the dark egg spots began to swell. This morning there was even more at the shady side of my pond. This good news because not many tadpoles make it to adult frogs.

The chiffchaff has made it back from the Mediterranean. Have you heard it? I have not seen it yet as it is so small and brownish green, but its distinctive ‘chiffchaff, chiffchaff’, call is floating in our woodland. In the summer we will hear it all the time and become immune to its excited notes as it tirelessly chiffchaffs, but just now it is a welcome noise and another sign of spring and better things to come.

We are hopeful too for our crown imperial fritillaries we planted them in a container and put them in the greenhouse in autumn. They are not like the fritillaries that grow wild here; they are much bigger and bright orange. We saw on a gardening programme that blue tits will fly into the flowers to get the nectar. How I would love to see them do this. We have put the lilies, which do indeed have lots of droplets of nectar in the flower, near our bird table. I have spent ages this last week watching through the window but so far, the blue tits are not interested.

Another sign of spring is that Mr T is cutting the lawn and so are many of our neighbours. The noise of heavy machinery almost overpowers the hope of spring.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

Frog spawn is in danger of filling our pond


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