Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Ravages of Nature

Most of my beautiful daffodils are gone. :-(  For the last three days we have had torrential rain, rain that didn't come downwards, but came slashing broadside into our faces.  Fifty mile an hour winds danced frenziedly around the gardens, house and outbuildings, razing to the ground my radiant blooms.  

Nature gives and nature takes away.  

Hopefully we will share each others company again next year. 


Tuesday, 30 March 2010

What Strange Behaviour!



I was worried yesterday when my Buzzard didn't arrive.  I say 'my' Buzzard, but he is mine only in my affection for him.  Actually, I don't know whether it is a him, or a her, but I shall call it a him.   I started to feed my European Buzzard at the beginning of the harsh spell of winter weather.  I feed all the seed eating birds, so it only seemed right that I should also give Mr Buzzard a helping hand.  He was also difficult to ignore, as he would sit on one of the fence posts in my field and repeatedly call out to me.  One day he even came right up close to the house and peered in at the window: "You are feeding them, so why can't you feed me!"  So I started to feed him.  Only a small amount, just to help him through the worst of the weather, as I didn't want him to become dependant on me.  In reality it has turned out the other way round: I am dependant on him - I need my fix of his visit so that I can admire his beauty and check that he is well.

This morning, as I looked out of the bathroom window, I spotted him on his regular telegraph pole.  He can see me coming out of the house of a morning from this pole, and his screaching calls let me know that he has noticed my presence.  If he is very hungry he will immediately fly across to the Hawthorn that grows behind the goose and duck sheds: the first of the poultry that I let out of a morning.  He stares at me, and screeches, long and loud: "Feed me, feed me, feed me!"  As I approach the sheds he gracefully banks away to the right and glides over my fields, alighting on a fence post.  He continues to harry me with his insistent call.  I shout in return "You'll have to wait!".

I finish off letting out the poultry, and then I open up the goat sheds, before heading off to get him his meat, his calls still echoing out across the land.  I hold the meat high in my hand as I walk out across the field towards him.  He never stays in the field to await the arrival of his breakfast, preferring to fly back to the Hawthorn where he has safety and a good view of my actions.  He stands, tall and tense, watching my movements, waiting for me to move away.   If he is very hungry he will be flying across to the meat before I have even left the field, but on most days he waits until I am well out of the way, putting his security before his hunger pangs.

Today though was different: we once again have torrential driving rain, the sort of rain that drenches you within seconds, stinging your eyes and flesh, making you long to head indoors as soon as possible.  My Buzzard was there on his post, as usual, but he was silent, completely silent.  He seemed occupied with some strange behaviour: his wings were outspread, as was his tail; he faced directly into the driving wind and rain, his head turning from side to side, his body angled in such a way that he would become saturated on all surfaces.  He stayed there for at least half an hour that I saw, and I don't know how long he was there before I first spotted him, just after dawn.  The only thing that I can think of is that perhaps he was trying to clear his body of parasites in the way that birds will bathe in dust or water.  If anyone has any suggestions as to why he behaved in this way, then please let me know.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Oh What A Change!

It is surprising just how much the weather can affect us: last night I lay in bed, locked in sleeplessness, listening to the silence.  Normally, in this area, the silence would be replaced with the continuous howling of the wind as it whips around the house, catching and disturbing any loose tile, lat of wood or garden furnishing.   But last night we had the lull before the storm.  My body sensed the imminent tumultuous weather that would hit us during the hours of darkness, and tension flowed through my veins, every nerve in my body on edge.  Sleep just wouldn't come.  Eventually I fell into a fitful doze, my mind fighting the exhaustion that my body felt.  Perhaps this behaviour was a survival strategy from long ago, when our ancestors lived life in caves and tents, and needed to be ever-ready to keep themselves safe.  Whatever the reason, it makes me realise just how inexorably we are linked to Mother Nature: a force totally beyond our control.

Yesterday we had beautiful spring weather, the warm sunshine making us discard our coats, but today the rain lashes the windows and once again the wind howls around the house and outbuildings.  The chill, and the dampness in the air, eat through to my bones, but I am not disheartened as I know that it is only a temporary blip before once again Spring will clasp us to her vibrant bossom. 

If today you are having the same weather as me, I hope this photo of Gorse bathed in sunlight will bring some warmth into your life.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

"And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils"



Daffodil season has at long last arrived!  Normally by now our daffs are on their way out, but winter was so long and harsh this year, causing a delay in all our spring flowers.  Last autumn I went daft purchasing bulbs so that I could go into the new year surrounded by colour, and I certainly haven't been disappointed: the beauty of them all is truly breathtaking.   I opted mainly for bags of mixed daffodils so that I would have the variety of colour, and also the suprise of not being sure what would pop up where.  And what a treat it has been: I have delicate pale lemon ones, bold brassy orange and bright yellow ones, and every shade in between. There are the large blooms on long tough stems with wide trumpets to blast out their glorious scent, multi-headed delicate little ladies sitting daintily amidst their brasher sisters, and pretty petite beauties with long slim bugles of rich orange.  Nature is so glorious and so uplifting to the spirits.

Title from William Wordsworth's "I Wander'd lonely as a cloud"

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I live in North Wales and spend my time caring for animals, walking in the countryside, photographing nature and reading. I hope to share, in photographs and words, some of the beauty that I see. If you enjoy the photographs on this blog then you might like to take a look at my Flickr photostream. View my complete profile for links to both of my blogs.