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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Searching in vain for Spring

The weather continues to take the mickey. Yesterday I trudged through the snow/mud in the name of patch birding, and again today.

Saturday 23th March

 A pair of Goosander, pair Great Crested Grebes and 7 Tufted Ducks ( 5 ♂ ) Ladies Pool.
6 Fieldfare passed over heading towards Barnet Brook
The Paddocks held a record count of c35 Meadow Pipits

On removing wellies, one toe had falllen off due to frost bite

Sunday 24th March

Churchill pool held 20 odd Canada's..infact one of them is very odd, one that has hybridised and has a large orange bill, will have to take a longer look when the snow is not straight into my bins.
Back on the Lane, lots of Redwings along the Brook, looking desperately for food. Up on the hill, c12 Linnets were doing likewise, as were 3 Meadow Pipits later on ( these are the first Mipits I have seen on the noth side of the patch ). The latter hardly blinked when I nearly fell over them, I felt really sorry for these birds, slim pickings to be had.
Despite the severe conditions, I watched a flock of Skylarks up on the stubble field on the hill. A Kestrel was periodically hawking them, flying low and fast. Enjoyed that spectacle, even with the snow feeling like needles on my face.

I will be checking this out later in the week, as well as reading the book when it arrives

In Pursuit of Spring BBC Radio 4 Friday 29th March

Presented By Matthew Oats (above)


Here is the programme synopsis from the BBC website...

"Edward Thomas (1878-1917) was arguably the most accomplished and profound writer of English rural prose, with a unique poetic-prose style. His reputation rests almost entirely today on his poetry, the one hundred and forty four poems which he wrote in the last two years of his life, between December 1914 and December 1916. In January 1917 he embarked for France and the Battle of Arras in which he was killed on April 9th, 1917.
As a prose writer Edward Thomas is often overshadowed by his poetry, but over Easter 1913, he set off on a cycle ride of personal self-discovery across Southern England. In doing so he was hoping to reconnect with the countryside he felt he had become disconnected from, having lived in London for some time. This journey was published in 1914 in his book "In Pursuit of Spring" and it remains a poignant reminder of one of our greatest countryside writers, who just a few years later would die on the battlefields of World War One.
Over Easter 2013, naturalist Matthew Oates pursues his own personal homage to Thomas by following in the literacy cycle tracks of the Edwardian writer one hundred years before. Throughout the series, academic and travel writer Robert MacFarlane, an admirer of Thomas himself, will read passages from Thomas's work which illustrate the man within. Rather than faithfully recreating the earlier journey, Matthew aims to recapture the spirit of self-discovery as he travels through southern England to meet people who can explain Thomas, the man behind the writing.
In this series of four programmes Matthew Oates will be travelling to Steep in Hampshire, where Thomas lived, and where he wrote his most famous works. Not far away in Coate near Swindon is the home of Richard Jefferies, whom inspired Thomas. In Gloucestershire, Thomas lived for a few short weeks in 1914 with the Dymock poets, here it is believed he began to reject prose for poetry under the influence of his great friend Robert Frost. The series ends by the Quantocks in Somerset, the scene of the great romantic nature partnership between Coleridge and Wordsworth.
But as Thomas travelled across southern England in 1913, was he aware that the life he had known, and more importantly the countryside which gave him solace from his depression, was about to abruptly end. Unwittingly, Thomas has provided today's reader with 'Mirror of England' taking us back to a simpler time when the horrors of a European conflict were yet still beyond comprehension."

Something to look forward to, and a reminder that things could be worse..


  1. Its hard for the farmland birds this time of year, caught between lack of insects and dwindling berry/seed supplies.

    Hope your toes recover soon :-)

  2. Really felt for them today, they were struggling, and its already been a long winter, deserve a break !