Originally published February 2015
Hello Everyone! As we struggle to cope with the usual seasonal difficulties, icy winds, flooded roads, hidden potholes and people coughing all the way through the latest blockbusters at the cinema, I feel it is an opportune moment to reflect on the past year. There is more than a touch of déjà vu about the start to this year which goes beyond the usual January doldrums. Severe weather warnings, lanes turned into training areas for canoeists and pictures of our new ‘Link Road’ disappearing into the flooded marshes were all features of Crowhurst life this time last year.
Despite the damp start there are clear signs that spring has begun, the air is alive with birdsong, Buzzards are wheeling overhead, early flowers are pushing through the cold earth and the Reserve pond is teeming with insect larvae. Admittedly it could all come to an abrupt halt without too much in the way of warning. We are used to the vagaries of the British weather but it appears the movement of the Jet Streams are making it increasingly difficult to predict what is around the corner.
Last year a gang of valiant chaps helped me to pull a couple of trees out of Quarry Wood pond, and it seems we have to do it all over again as the wind and rain have taken their toll on yet another of our Ladies of the Wood. Ropes and saws at the ready chaps! As always we need to be aware of the official start of the nesting season on the 1st March, though the feathered folk seem to be making themselves known to each other already! It could be that the unpredictability of our weather has taught the native fauna and flora the virtues of opportunism and be prepared to take advantage of any fine days that come our way.
Looking back at a previous scribble (Celtic Fools and Cowpox, July 2014) I thought we could start off the year with a quick survey for those with a keen ear. It would be interesting if people could record the first Cuckoo heard this year, date, time and rough position. Perhaps we can build up our own idea of how many of those particular visitors we have this year. Any results can be emailed to me and I will do my best to collate the data for the next month.
I am well aware that I often refer to previous articles, often from years past. This is almost certainly very frustrating for anyone trying to follow my rather eclectic train of thought. Well, be frustrated no more! There is now the opportunity to see all the scribbles, going back to 2008, with extra photos, on this website created by the amazing Lorna.
This means I can refer to my own words without trying to find back issues of the News or opening half a dozen files before finding the right piece. An added bonus is that all the pictures and photos are in glorious colour and do justice to Ma Nature’s domain. I hope to be able to put extra pieces such as the results of the Cuckoo survey and any relevant snippets as they occur so it will be worth dipping in and out if you can. Of course, the News will remain the main publication for the articles and readers will still be the first to peruse my scribbles.
Meanwhile, stay warm and dry. Enjoy the life and energy that spring provides and listen out for our visitors from Africa!
And I must ponder here aloof
While the rain is on the roof.
In The Green And Gallant Spring, Robert Louis Stevenson
Any thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org