‘It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade’ Charles Dickens
It was the Spring Equinox earlier this week. Day and night are almost equal lengths. It will soon be time for the clocks to go forward here in the UK, and the days to lengthen.
Two weeks ago I ran to my local nature reserve, RSPB St Aidans. There was a chill in the air, but the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and beginning to collect nesting material.
I’d already begun to see some of the first signs that Spring would soon be upon us.
Hazel Catkins in January.
Elder bud burst and Song Thrush singing in February.
Temperatures beginning to rise, the sun feeling warm on the skin. Stone chat sat up high singing together at my local nature reserve, and male swans defending their territory in early March.
Then as if Jack Frost himself had turned heel and swept back across the land the temperatures plummeted and snow fell upon most of the UK. The ‘Beast from the East’ causing disruption and ‘snow days’. It also brought a flurry of Scandinavian visitors into gardens across the country, flocks of fieldfare and redwing moved into suburbia to find food. The fieldfare we had in our garden was incredible to watch. We put out windfall apples, and it fiercely guarded those apples. My poor local blackbirds didn’t know what had hit them.
It’s not unusual to have snow this time of year. What has been unusual is the amount, how widespread, and the massive fluctuations in temperature from one day to another. Despite the Arctic conditions the blackbirds in our garden have still begun to sing at dawn, and the female carried on nest building in the middle of a snow storm.
Nature will carry on regardless, survival is instinctive. The bulbs have still pushed through, the trails and gardens are full of Snowdrops, crocus and now daffodils.
The sunshine is back as we move closer to Easter, long days and warm sunshine to look forward to, and more snow apparently!
I ran to the nature reserve this week, and it was as if the snow never happened. The swans are paired off, there are catkins on the willow, blackthorn has begun to flower.
It’s a wonderful time of year with dark days behind, and a chance to start afresh and make plans. It’s important that we embrace whatever the weather throws at us, and we take the time to notice the detail, otherwise January, February and March disappear in a flash. I hope you’ve taken notice of some of the signs that Spring is upon us.
You can find my ‘First Signs of Spring’ print in my Etsy shop.