Last night was cold ... obviously Captain Oates would disagree with that statement but for my part of the world it was a cold night. Despite the frost my Kerria Japonica produced its first bloom. I have roses flowering and a lupin in bloom. I expected the snowdrops to flower and the Hellebores but there seems to be a lot more activity than usual at this time of year. It is lovely to see it but it is also rather worrying - this is climate change happening in my garden.
Even more worrying is the fact that the birds are joining in. Last week a Great Tit was definitely checking out the nest box and I was amused to see a beautiful male Pheasant puffing up his plummage to impress a female who was totally ignoring him. The frost has thankfully cooled their ardour.
Back in 1736 Robert Marsham of Norfolk began
recording the dates for natural events that he felt indicated the beginning of Spring. He corresponded with Gilbert White who was keeping similar records in Hampshire. This was the beginning of Phenology. By examining this wealth of data modern Phenologists can tell us that Spring is beginning noticably earlier. According to the Woodland Trust Nature's Calander Survey recent records kept by Dr Anne Phillips reveal that Blackbirds are nesting approximately 14 days earlier and trees are leafing 12 days earlier. Whilst we are all happy to see the back of Winter these early indicators of Spring are a wake up call to us all.
Gilbert White's House and Gardens to see the estate but also to visit the Antartic exhibition dedicated to Captain Oates (it was 100 years ago yesterday that Scott and his team reached the pole)
The Festival of Birds at Slimbridge Gloucestershire on 4th - 5th February.
20th January 2012
PS: Bryony Balen, a 21 year old student, became the youngest person to ski to the South Pole. Brilliant achievement! When Scott got there he said, "Great God! This is an awful place." He was facing the disappointing fact that Amundsen had beaten him there but also the knowledge that they had to trek all the way back. Bryony got on a plane to return to Base Camp.