It was bitterly cold but sunny first thing yesterday morning, but after a couple of hours the air had warmed up enough to tempt me out. I was due a walk anyway, having not even left the house the previous day.
Every year there is a point somewhere around the middle of February when I feel the warmth of the sun for the first time that year, but yesterday morning there was already a hint of that.
It wasn’t cold enough to freeze the ground, except in a few particularly exposed places, and so it was very muddy underfoot. Therefore it was a delight to occasionally walk through drifts of last years leaves.
And there was so much birdsong. So much so that it became a background noise that was easy to filter out after a while, except when a particularly loud or unusual song caught my attention. Not that I do that deliberately, since birdsong is one of the delights of the countryside. At some point or another when I’m out, I can usually hear the rooks, but maybe because of the sun and the noise from the other birds they seemed to be silent. I’ve always associated them with cloudy skies for some reason, perhaps because I’m so used to hearing them on moorland and in the hills and mountains.
But I’m sure they like a sunny day every bit as much as the next bird.
This morning is cloudy again and the rooks are back. Outside I hear crark crark crark, and the occasional cronk. There is rain and sleet forecast for later, so I go into town in the morning. By the time I get home, the sky is already full of dark clouds and threatening to drop some weather soon.
The afternoon, then. I partly spent painting this little fellow:
The blue tit is one of the few British birds whose population seems to be increasing slightly at the moment, in contrast to most whose populations have fallen – sometimes dramatically – over the last few years. We seem to be losing lots of the birds I took for granted as a child, which is such a sad thing. As a race, we seem to be so damned good at exterminating other creatures.