Transmission power lines are an intrusive and ugly sign in the landscape reminding us of how unnatural man made constructions can be. But today, in the warm afternoon sunshine, I spotted a row of 17 doves making good use of them.
I guess nature decides when its spring. It is 15C today, warm and sunny and I have just spotted my first butterfly of the year. I had a walk around the woods and there are plenty of signs of spring. Dagfodils, snowdops, primrose and bluebells (no flowers yet) were all present, as was abundant wild garlic. The plum and hawthawn trees were flowering and a number of trees had leaves unfurling. I also spotted a pair of blue tits looking for nesting sites.
During the week of the 23rd we had warm sunny weather almost everyday and a top temperature of 19C. It was very unusual.
SheOur ducks and geese come and go as they please. A few weeks ago two pairs of mallards came and spent a few days on the pond then one pair flew away leaving the just one pair who seem perfectly at home. Because I have been in and around the pond for a few hours each day cutting the dogwood they have got use to me so more or less ignore me now, In fact they usually come to have a look at what I'm doing. They are so interesting to watch as they glide through the water causing the most amazing ripples.
Two days ago my wife spotted another duck that we hadn't seen before splashing in a large puddle on the drive. A little while later she was on the roof of the summer house so I went out to take photographs and was surprised how close I could get to her. Later I noticed her by the side of the pond and that is where she has been ever since. I think she is a Muscovy Duck and it so nice of her as a new resident on the pond. She is quite friendly and has a calming effect on the mallards. She is happy to sit with them preening herself.
I remember tackling the overgrown dogwood at the bottom of the garden exactly one year ago prior to the new fence being built. This year, in February I find myself back in the dogwood but this time in the pond. Its nearly 14 years since I adopted this garden and I'm ashamed to say I haven't once cut back the dogwood. Consequently it is now over 3m high and extends 3 metres over the pond and sometimes upto 5m along the bottom of the pond.
The pond gives us so much pleasure. It is the focal point in the garden and it is a haven for life on it and in it. Even at this time of the year there are usualy some ducks on it and our family of geese are frequent visitors. It is featured in many of my video films and it is a stimulus for my sketching and painting. Mostly I have just cut the saplings and brambles that spring up on its banks but this year I have decided to spend more time, effort and money on enhancing it and the first step is to clear the dogwood along its banks and perhaps on the small island used for nesting in the middle of the pond.
At this time of the year the pond is cold: in fact the surface is often frozen in the morning. It's quite shallow at the edge (around a foot deep) so I started off gingerly cutting the dogwood back in my wellingtons. But it was easy to slip off the narrow edge into deeper water and after a few wet feet experiences I realised this was not the way.