Winter Continues Apace

So, here we are just three days away rom the beginning of British Summertime and there’s still snow lying on the ground. What a wonderful country we live in.

As usual, I’ve been desperately trying to think of some advantages to our crappy climate – it’s a typically British pastime, making the best of a bad job – and I’ve actually added a second benefit to my usual one. Our conservatory roof is real, fully transparent glass to enable us to see up into the trees which surround us. Most conservatories are built with translucent, not transparent, polycarbonate roofs. Our downside is that cleaning a glass roof is, not to put too fine a point on it, a pain in the arse/ass [pick your preferred word/spelling]. My newfound winter benefit is that a hefty covering of snow, as it slides down the roof and off, is that it cleans and polishes the glass as it goes. I guess it’s a bit like a glacier polishing the stones over which it flows. Saves me a job.

J01_2216 Six SiskinsJ01_2217 Nyjer SiskinsThe only other benefit, the usual one to which I will admit, is the variety of birdlife that descends upon our garden in search of food during harsh conditions. There’re no berries left on our bushes at the moment so we haven’t seen any Redwings, Waxwings or Fieldfares since returning from Singapore and Cambodia, but we have recently been being eaten out of house and home by a veritable flock of Siskins (Carduelis spinus). This morning Carol counted at least eight occupying all the permanent perches on our feeders, both sunflower seed and nyjer seed feeders, and there were others in the trees beyond. At least the food’s not going to waste and we’re delighted to see them, though I think the year-round resident tit population might be a little distraught ‘cos they’re having a hard time getting a look in.

J01_2213 BlackcapThe Siskins have been around for a while vacuuming up the food but just recently they were joined by our first Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) of the season. Blackcaps are great little songsters in summer but difficult for us amateurs to distinguish from a Garden Warbler – very similar songs. Not that it’s got much to sing about at the moment, of course, though it is doing a good job of holding its own in the battle for feeder space.

Our cunning plan in arranging our trip to Singapore and Cambodia when we did was that Spring would be upon us when we returned. So much for that hope! Let’s fervently hope that change in our clocks brings a change in the weather, otherwise the dragonfly season won’t start, as it should, before we go to Spain.

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