Springing

The plants are certainly springing up now and Spring is very much in evidence even though it won’t be properly Spring until the Equinox occurs in five weeks’ time. Temperatures have been low for the past few weeks, but there’s only been a few nights of heavy frost. Soil temperatures are way up on last year and that is the deciding factor for Springtime. Here, for example, are Alexanders, not only above ground, but already blooming in a hedgerow:

When there are flowers to feed on, then there will be insects to feed on them.

Incredibly, there are already a small few Red Currants blooming in hedgerows. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any quite so early:

However, among the animal kingdom there is still the sense it is winter, and down on the wetlands along the coast of Wicklow you can see wintering Black-tailed Godwits:

   But probably more striking are the huge flocks of Lapwing, aka Green Plover or Peewit (the latter due to it’s “pee-wit” call). These beautiful birds are as striking in flight as they are on the ground, having enormous wings for their size. The green on their backs and wings shimmers in the sunlight:

We’re entering the most exciting time of year, and the cherry blossoms are already on the trees.

However, for me the most exciting sight, so far, has been a tiny Early Violet, as small as the nail on a pinky finger, newly blooming and with two tiny insects inside the flower, a Greenfly Aphid and a minute Thrip. Can you see them? When the insects appear spring has really begun:

Keep your eyes peeled, because you never know what you might see next.

 

Snowdrops and Bird Song

The snowdrops are all up and blooming beautifully, and now we can definitely say that spring is on the way. They looked spectacular today in the bright sunlight.

And the snowdrops are not alone, there are also crocuses starting to bloom already.

These are just the first true flowers of spring, and as the landscape begins to stir back to life there are later spring flowers already preparing for their blooming – here is a tuft of bluebells risen from an ancient lawn:

Finally, these photos do convey the look of spring, but if you want to hear it, especially bird calls, then you need audio, or, even better, video with audio. Here’s one I made today:

 

Daffodils and spiders

The daffodil bud from my last bulletin has only opened now, but crocuses have risen above ground, and I have also found the fleshy leaves of tulips! However, these flowers all appeared last year around this time, or even a little later,  and we still got some very heavy snow and cold conditions later in the year, in March.

Before things got too interesting this spring I wanted to do something about False Widow spiders. According to this January’s issue of the BBC Wildlife Magazine there is a wave of terror in England, particularly around London, caused by the presence of these venomous spiders. And, more worryingly, pesticides are being used in an ad hoc way to placate public fear, and pesticides are far more dangerous than any False Widows. Two species of False Widow spider are venomous and can bite people, but they are not aggressive, and to prove this I have made a video in which I handle a good size Noble False Widow spider, with no ill-effects. Here is that video:

An Adventure in the Garden of Ireland