Thursday 11 April 2024

Has it stopped raining yet?

It has been one of the wettest winters I can recall. The local ponds are all full to the brim, wader passage (such that we ever get here) will be virtually non-existent. I'd rather them be full than empty, as that would just be disgusting around here, and as we head into no doubt another record-breaking summer we need every ounce of water we can store as the levels will fall very quickly with the kind of temperatures that are commonplace these days. Ounce? Drop, maybe. Large sections of the patch which are not ponds are close to becoming ponds, or at the very least incredibly waterlogged and boggy. And bird-free of course, even though from a distance it looks really quite attractive. But of course what do I know? I am not a bird, and as Jubilee Pond constantly reminds us what looks completely grim from a human perspective seems to be very attractive to birds. So the reverse is probably true - to me it looks great. To a passing bird, meh.

The deluge is showing signs of easing, finally, and occasionally a funny yellow ball can be seen in the sky. This is very pleasant, and both and my plant-growing environments have begun to feel warm again. Only briefly of course, but I have sown the seeds of what will eventually become my annual bean harvest and now have a nice collection of seedlings that I will soon plant out. Concurrent with this change in the weather we have finally seen a bit of migration, although I missed by far the best day of the year by virtue of being somewhere else that was also very waterlogged. So waterlogged in fact that the streets had all flooded and the residents were having to get about in boats.

Even though I missed the fun at the weekend, the mornings have provided an opportunity to partially catch up. We've had a good passage of Common Redstart (unusual for Spring) including a lingering bird that has started to sing, the first Swallows have been passing over,  the regular Reed Warbler has put in an early appearance on Shoulder of Mutton pond, and in the last couple of days the first Whitethroats have arrived and are tentatively singing whilst getting booted around by Robins. Patch birders are never satisfied of course, and t
houghts are turning to what we might get next, and all local birders worth their salt have a mental list of targets and have fine-tuned their birdy radars for specific species. I am on high alert for Ring Ouzel for example, the 'tsiep' of a Yellow Wagtail, and for that first rattle of a Lesser Whitethroat. Any day now.

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