Brrr - cold again last night( -4C) with freezing fog in the morning and a sharp frost. We all went out to see "The Golden Compass" film last night - I think Iorek and his mates from the Kingdom of the Ice Bear would feel quite at home with our weather at the moment.
Still, Spring is surely just around the corner with our daffs starting to come up and a Swallow was reported yesterday in West Sussex.
Highlights on the way to work were a Green Woodpecker which flew over the road and landed in a field with 10+ Pheasants all struting about. Also last night we saw a Fox working the streets.
Whilst painting fences in glorious sunshine (although conditions still cold), I was alerted to several Blue Tit alarm calls in the Hazel above my head. A male Sparrowhawk then shot through and began chasing a Blue Tit through the branches. Fortunately, the Blue Tit got away and the Sparrowhawk circled around and climbed high before gliding away.
Also seen today were 2 Harlequin Ladybirds (one in the house), Shield-bug and Bumble Bee
Glorious weather, so a stroll around the Park at lunchtime was not a hard decision to make. On the lake itself the pair of Egyptian Geese had returned (I last saw them in May last year where they managed to raise a brood of five). Also present were Teal, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Common Gull amongst the numerous Black-headed Gulls, Canada Geese andCoots.
In the wooded areas 2 Ring-necked Parakeets flew through noisily (I've already seen them exploring a suitable nest hole, so maybe they'll breed) and Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Chaffinch, Mistle Thrush andStarlings were all either singing or courting partners in very Spring-like behaviour.
The Snowdrops were looking good, whilst Daffodils, Crocuses, Cherry Blossom and Blackthorn were all in flower. The books says Blackthorn flowers from late March - mmmm needs a reprint.
A brief visit on Thursday revealed at least 30 Bramblings at the feeders in the orchard. They were quite nervous feeders on the ground only staying for a few minutes at a time before seeking the safety of the bushes. I was pleased to get some pictures of these northern visitors in the glorious sunshine. Also seen were 6 Snipe, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 20+ Fieldfares flying over.
Jaz and Purrgeot don't always like to do everything together, but in this case they're just copy cats, recharging the batteries ready for a day chasing squirrels, stalking birds and keeping a careful watch on the feline activity in the neighbourhood.
The sunrise was lighting up the Sycamore tree this morning which looked very attractive and heralded the promise of a pleasant day where I can get out to continue digging the borders and painting the fences.
At first light, for two mornings running over the weekend, a Heron was seen at the top of the conifer in the western corner of the garden. It would stay up there for up to 30 mins before flying off or dropping down to a neighbours garden where there is a substantial pond.