The weather forecast says this evening snow will hit the UK. Certainly today more birds have come into the garden than for many weeks. I was chatting on the phone yesterday to a friend and between us he and I had about 20 species in both our gardens (He's in Gloucestershire) during out 20 minute chat. Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Blackcap to name three. Do these birds know cold weather is on the way?
I spent this afternoon at friends in Cheddar, home of cheese and the famous Gorge. They'd moved from a house set in 13 very steep acres on the edge of the Gorge to a bigger house but in a smaller garden in the village. What they have lost with 13 acres they've gained in a flat garden. A lot of work to do but their house had a lovely feel, almost Mediterranean with the courtyard and outbuildings. It used to be the bakery in Victorian times and they'd been given a fabulous photograph of their property in the 1880's complete with men and women in dark clothing.
While sipping tea, a Wellingtonia tree which can be viewed from the kitchen provided a few bird species, and apparently 40+ Jackdaw roost in here at night.
But after visiting my friends, I made my leave and drove home via the Gorge (above), spying a few of the Jacobs Sheep which were introduced a few years ago to help control invasive species on this absolutely fabulous limestone feature.
While watching these sheep, one of the resident Peregrine Falcons flew down the Gorge. A couple of years ago I sat one summer's day and watched the antics of these glorious birds of prey up and down the Gorge. Always a treat to see.
As it was about 4.30pm, I realised the days are lenghtening rapidly now. Depending on what calendar one uses today or tomorrow is the Pagan Festival of Imbolc, or the first day of spring. It always gladdens the heart to see the evenings lengthen rapidly at this time of year.
However although the days may lengthening, the weather tonight was distinctly cold. As can be seen by the above photo, taken at the top of Cheddar Gorge at 4.58pm it was minus 1 degrees. Further up the Mendips on the way home, it dropped to minus 3. And with the strong wind, it was absolutely freezing. It may be the first day of Spring, but we have a long way to go before feeling warmth on the skin.