What can I say? Sometimes I get very angry at the human race!
I’m not sure whether this male Wren’s posturing was a threat display – ‘This is my territory. Enter at your own risk!’ – or whether he was trying to impress the other Wren that was dotting about in the tree nearby – ‘Look at me! I’m a big healthy tough male and I’d make a good mate.’ He sure was giving it his all though – it always amazes me how much sound can be produced by such a small bird.
For the second day in a row, places in north Wales have posted record high winter temperatures and, though a chilly breeze has kept things a bit cooler here in the south, it’s still much warmer than it should be. And these unseasonable highs have been responsible for the early awakening of much insect life. On today’s wander I spotted several hoverflies and bumblebees, a Brimstone butterfly flew past my house earlier, and the cherry tree outside my window has been buzzing with bees all day. It’s wonderful to see all these critters out and about again but it’s also a worry as winter’s probably not finished with us yet.
Plenty of sunshine in recent days means lots of light and warmth, which means the Common frogs (Rana temporaria) have been doing their thing in the pond at Lavernock Nature Reserve, and there are now huge clumps of spawn. Some of the little black dots already look to be developing, though, apparently, only 1 in 50 of these eggs will grow to frog-hood. I’ll be keeping an eye on them whenever I pass through this way.
As the thick fog began to lift from the lakes at Cosmeston this morning, I caught sight of these two Mute swans engaged in their delightful slow-motion courtship dance, gracefully moving their necks from one side to the other and confirming their connection with quiet grunts and hissing sounds. I didn’t quite capture their necks making the classic heart shape but it was a delight to watch them.
As we’ve had a very unseasonal high of 14°C today (this is still meant to be winter remember), it’s not surprising that birds’ thoughts are turning to nest building. Today, at Cosmeston, I saw Magpies and Carrion crows stick-carrying, a Blue tit with moss in its beak perched on the entrance hole of a conveniently placed nest box, and this Coot transporting bits of reed to a secretive location.
Today was a chores day so I just had a little tootle around my local haunts. But my photo was taken right outside my house. As a first-floor-flat dweller, I don’t have a garden but the tiny stone-filled front yard of my building has a magnificent Cherry tree, which fills half the view from my living room window and brings me great joy throughout the year. I have been watching its buds swell fatter and fatter until, finally, today the first several of its blossoms have opened.
Under blue skies and glorious sunshine, I returned to Barry for another long exploratory meander today so I expected this blog post to contain one of the many photos I took of water lapping on sand, aerobatic gulls soaring overhead, seaweed floating in and out on the waves, birds feeding amongst the reeds and rivulets in the Old Harbour …. But then I happened to glance over a railing into someone’s allotment and saw this gorgeous creature basking in the warm afternoon sun. And all thoughts of a marine theme vanished in a blink of a sleepy fox’s eye.
Today has been incredibly mild and Spring-like, and the warmer temperatures encouraged the birds to sit singing on tree tops, flowers to open (the flowers in this photo are Alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum – the first I’ve seen open this year), and lapping up the pollen from those flowers was my first bee of 2019.
The scent of Spring was strong in the air today or, at least, all the birds I saw thought so. The Great crested grebes were being particularly amorous. First, though, this female fancied some lunch – just a little snack to keep her energy levels up.
Then she climbed on to the minimal nest that she and her mate had created and got herself ready. The male seemed unsure – perhaps he was shy because I was watching.
After a couple of minutes when nothing had happened, the female stood up, gave herself a little shake and directed some stern squeaks at the male.
He had obviously got the message!
The end made me laugh out loud as he slid unceremoniously over the female’s head in to the water. Let’s hope their efforts were not in vain. I’ll be keeping an eye on them, from a suitable distance.