Birthpangs of Spring

The winter of 2013/14 has certainly been the winter of storms, but the heavy bouts of rain (and those of sleet and snow too) have somehow kick-started spring growth. As the days grow longer there’s more and more to see. The snowdrops are now blooming absolutely everywhere.

Snowdrops in full bloom by a hedgerow. Beautiful.
Snowdrops in full bloom by a hedgerow. Beautiful.

The crocuses are already coming into a peak of blooming, although there are not quite so many pollinating insects about right now. Here are some very nice ones in my garden.

Crocuses in full bloom. Very distinctive.
Crocuses in full bloom. Very distinctive.

At this time of year it’s a good idea to not only look at what’s going on at ground level, but also up into the air in the sky about. A few days ago we had a really sunny and cold day, and I had an opportunity to observe two Buzzards (Buteo buteo) circling overhead.

A Buzzard circling overhead, revealing quite striking patterns on the feathers covering the underside of the wings.
A Buzzard circling overhead, revealing quite striking patterns on the feathers covering the underside of the wings. Not a great shot, but you can see what it is.

The European Buzzard is technically a large hawk or small eagle and should not be confused with vultures, which are often referred to in America as ‘Buzzards’. Our Buzzard is actually a close relative of the American Red-shouldered Hawk. They are beautiful birds and at this time of the year will land in newly ploughed fields to eat earthworms and grubs exposed by the soil. Of course, they also eat rodents, other birds and can take young rabbits and hares.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *