Saturday, 28 March 2015

Spring has sprung

Cherry blossom
Life slowly returns to the garden, though sluggishly. The bird feeders get visitors, mostly blue tits, and the buzzards are overflying again. My damsons, apples, plums and greengages are budding, and a new Japanese cherry in a small pot outside the shed door is blossoming nicely.

And yet it is all a lot quieter than it has been in years past, at least in terms of garden birds. Quite why this should be, I don't know. My gut feel remains that we still haven't recovered from the hard winters 0f 2010 and 2011; I have seen very few finches in the garden since then, for example, except for a pair of greenfinches last year.

Blue Tit at feeder
On the whole, the optimism I felt when I last posted has worn off somewhat--I expected to see more signs of birdlife than have actually happened.

Down where the old Corstorphine railway line runs--now a footpath and cycle path--the stretch between Corstorphine and Pinkhill has a lot of bullfinches, and I have seen them up on Corstorphine Hill too. It could be that the budding damsons in the front garden will attract them round the house later in the year, though I have mixed feelings about this. I'm happy to see them but don't want next year's crop destroyed.

In the bigger picture, walking at night continues to mean encountering foxes regularly, though it is a while since I saw a badger. Nor have I heard owls recently. I mentioned the buzzards and I have also seen a kestrel and a sparrow hawk overflying the garden; a heron overflew last night too. One afternoon I was watching 5 buzzards displaying above the house and saw something else flying very high--too high even for binoculars. It was large and had white-ish underparts. It was flying due north. I suspect, and acknowledge that there may be wishful thinking here, that this was an osprey.

Dunnock at the feeder by the kitchen window
Finally, last spring I noted on Facebook and Twitter that although I had a mass of apple-blossom, there were no pollinators around. The apple crop last year was pretty good all the same. In any event I was pleased to see the bumble bee in the photo above this morning. The apples aren't in blossom yet, but with a bit of luck there'll be a better showing by bees this year.

Note: if anyone is at all interested, all of the pics. here were taken on a Fuji X-Pro 1 with a Fuji XF 18-135 lens