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:

The Winter Solstice and Astronomical Winter

Last year we had quite a mild December, and a good cold January, with the first daffodils blooming by the end of January – and then a brutally cold spring with plenty of snow and ice. What does this year have in store for us?

Friday night, (the 21st December) was the Winter Solstice. It occurred at exactly 10.23 pm, so the following morning (Saturday 22nd) was in fact the closest to the event. This marks the start of Astronomical Winter, which in many cases is the true winter, although in Ireland 1st December is usually considered the first day of winter by meteorologists.

Incredibly, yesterday I found daffodils were not only up, but some had flower buds! How long will it take for them to bloom? We’ll have to wait and see, but this December is certainly a little bit warm:

Incredibly, I also found Primroses in full bloom! It is extremely early for them, although they are often earlier  bloomers than others:

An Adventure in the Garden of Ireland