The Fieldfares and some other winter visitors have left. Winter migrants are clearly moving north as Spring advances upon them. Only yesterday, as we left the hospital at the end of evening visiting, the gentle flight call notes of swans drifted down. It was, for once a clear starlit night and we watched a formation of nine Bewick’s Swans as they passed serenely in line-astern overhead. Their whiteness somewhat colour-washed by the light pollution from the east of the city. Their calls contrasting with the monotonous hum of the city. They were heading intently north eastwards, responding to the call of the Russian tundra.
Litter pick 2013
Late morning on Saturday, with snow in the air and a biting nor’easterly wind blowing, seven hardy souls ventured out to pick litter from around the village. The Big Tidy Up has become an annual event.
Fast food containers and the so-easily disposable coffee cups and endless beer bottles were there in usual quantities. A rather sad collection of empty bottles of a cheap whisky from some secret drinker near the railway line. The ever present wrappers from contractor’s packed lunches infested the routes through Hall Farm. The rather strange mentality that makes dog walkers bag up dog turd and then chuck the whole lot into the hedge baffles us. But, after completing various circuits of the byways around the village, all who turned out were satisfied with a job well done. Total litter harvest: 6 sacks full. Thanks to all who lent their time.
The crocuses are in flower around the village sign and this helps to lift the spirits.
Dawn in Mid-February
Dawn on a Sunday in mid-February arrived in a grey pall. A frost has etched its way through the garden and the air was still. But the sound of birdsong has gathered new strength; the Sing Thrush which has claimed an Ash tree to the west of the cottage was trading vocal blows with his rival neighbour at the Old Smithy. The dual followed strict rules. An opening five phrase repeat from one bird was followed by a pause and a response from the other. Their notes filled with the vigour and meaning as the serious business of territorial claims were reinforced. In the background Robins and Wrens added their own vocals. On the ground Snowdrops continue to flower and the early Daffodils venture forth with the yellow heralds trumpet.
BRAMPTON BIG TIDY UP – 23rd February 2013
The Brampton Big Tidy Up, our big effort to litter pick at then end of Winter, will take place on Saturday 23rd February. We would very much welcome your help. It would take roughly one and a half hours of your time. Ideally, teams of two will attend and take a set route within the Parish litter picking as they go. We meet at Brampton Village Hall at 11.00 a.m on Saturday 23rd February. If tou can attend please speak to or email Mark Little.
Thaw and reflection
The weather softens after a fortnight of snow and frosts.But the hard spell that we have just experienced served to expose the variety of wildlife within the parish. Hunger and the serious business of courtship pushed dog fox and vixen into the daylight. The urban fox has become a common sight in Norwich, but the country fox is a a much more wary creature altogether. Their travels and territories are defined by river and railway line and the thaw releases the strong scent in many places. A sharp frosty starlit night is punctuated by their barks and screams as boundaries are set.
Elsewhere, Jenny reports whole families of hunting otter in the early morning light. On the arable fields the destructive power of foraging Roe Deer show up as snowy excavations. Teal spring out from out from under the reed fringed bank of the Bure and Grey Geese graze on the whatever passes for exposed vegetation on the Common. In the garden flocks of finches cluster in a frenzy of shuttle visits around the feeders. The wintering Little Egret manage to contrast in shades of white with the decaying snow.
A short burst of sunshine and the presence of Celandines, Snowdrops and the early shoots of Daffodils in the churchyard promise the approach of Spring. The colour green seems to suddenly return from the overnight thaw.