Moving into March — in like a lion.
This week saw the arrival of The Beast from the East, a weather system which dragged cold Arctic area across the whole of the UK. Ironically it was caused by a warm air event higher in the atmosphere disrupting the Gulf Stream air flow that usually keeps us warmer than similar latitudes.
The plummeting temperatures froze everything in sight and stopped plant growth in it’s tracks. Crocuses and snowdrops buried under mounds of snow and the seeds that serve the birds and small mammals through winter suddenly inaccessible.
The first thing that became apparent in the garden was a change in behaviour of some of the birds. Robins, in particular are very territorial and will chase off any intruders on their patch. Over this week, there was a number of Robins making use of the feeders with four spotted together at one point. One newcomer was strikingly obvious as he had scars on his face making him look quite grumpy. Were they too busy feeding to survive to stake their territorial claim or are they hard wired to respond to the cold in way which improves the chances of survival of the species.
Other species overcame their natural reticence and came closer to the house. These included Jackdaws, Crows and Magpies which usually keep to the shrubs and trees at the garden boundary.
Also spotted were Redwings and Fieldfares although they were away so speedily there was no opportunity to get a good photograph. A young fox also took an interest early in the morning.
Strangely, the Grey Squirrels that are often quite greedy were conspicuous by their absence.
The moss and lichen continue to grow on the apple tree, enjoying the damp conditions and seemingly impervious to the weather. They create beautiful miniature gardens in brilliant shades of red and greens.
The lying snow in rare moments of sunshine, sparkled with myriad rainbow colours emphasizing the cold blue of the shadows.
Next installment from 5th — 11th March will be available here next week.