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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Maybe, just maybe, a hint of spring...

I slept in my own home last night for the first time in over a week. During that ethereal phase of awaking and wondering where I was, I tried also to work out what it was that had woken me...

And then I realised: They are back!

They are the Lesser Black-backed Gulls that form a loose colony on the chimney tops of the houses in my street. They have returned to start a new breeding season.

One of the pairs of Lesser Black-back Gulls that colonise the chimneys in my street

Right now, they are in dispute, competing vigorously and noisily for the most desirable chimney upon which to raise a family; later, the noise will intensify when eggs are laid and the sight of every domestic cat, or even a mum with a pram, raises a cacophony of scolding alarm cries.

When the chicks hatch, their begging screeches will add to the din, and and the parents swill swoop angrily on those who dare to approach too closely. The racket will rise to a crescendo in July when the cries of the fledgling gulls add to those of the adults.

Yes, from now until the end of July, I expect to be woken each morning by the clamour of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Do I mind?

Not a bit of it! Why choose to live near the sea if you cannot appreciate the sounds that go with it!

Hazel catkins, like a mist in the woodland under-story

This portent of spring prompted me to search for others in the woods where I carry out my fieldwork. Maybe a wild daffodil or two on some mossy bank will be seeking sunlight? Or even a precocious violet or primrose fortunate enough to be lodged in a sheltered sun-trap will have raised its head above the parapet?

But not yet. In the gullies, there was still remnants of recent snow; it will be a few days yet before floral colour is seen in the woods.

The change that I noticed since my last visit was an explosion of catkins on the coppiced hazel trees, dancing like lambs tails in the sunshine that was trying so hard to emerge.

Lambs tails


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Gulls are not very noticeable at The Hill and I have not seen any colonies.

This year I am hoping for some Martins. They have begun building in the past. Two years ago as luck would have it when a pair put their first line of mud blobs beneath the eaves, an exterior ligh began sparking and fizzing alarmingly and I had to put a ladder up to fix it and that seemed to be enough to dissuade nest building. But this year ...

Best wishes,


5:48 pm  
Blogger donsands said...

Come on Spring! I have be seeing many Robins in my yard, and hearing their distictive chirping as they fly, which is a wonderful sight.

After 84 inches of snow this winter, and much damamge to so many homes, we need the warm spring weather to recoperate.

6:53 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Things are still very behind down in Cheshire although I did hear a woodpecker drumming this morning and heard a green woodpecker in Lyme Park the other day.

Celandines are through though not in flower yet.

8:05 pm  
Blogger willow said...

What handsome, stately gulls! Beautiful, Maalie.

9:25 pm  
Blogger simon said...

Amazing how the seasons change. Here the nights are a little longer, the golden elm has started to shed its leaves and the evenings are cooling. I remember these gulld from Shetland!

3:25 am  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Ah yes! Someone around here was telling me of some flower coming out, an early Spring one, though we still have plenty of snow (nothing like your area of course, Don). So good to see these signs of Spring, my favorite season of the year. But no sign of birds of Spring yet that I know of here. Deb is more on top of that than I am. We live in too suburban an area.

Lovely pics though and good that you can enjoy those gulls, Jim. They keep you company! :)

2:59 pm  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

We've been noticing a fair amount of budding going on around us.

4:50 pm  
Blogger Merisi said...

Very poetic post!
Now fast forward to those daffodils, I hope. ;-)

6:26 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Yes, it's lovely to see spring bursting through. I am planning to see the snowdrops at Anglesey Abbey on Friday.
No gulls here in Cambs, of course, but I do have a noisy, barking dog next door!

9:19 pm  

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