FEB 10 JANUARY BRINGS THE SNOW!!
By Joanna Fort
So it did bring the snow, also the cold and frost. For the first time in years we are experiencing a ‘proper winter’. Many of you will remember those long gone winters when we struggled through snow and cold, mainly without the vast numbers of 4x4 vehicles and supposed modern apparatus! Oh well we used to manage or is that just hopeful memories!!
January is named after the Roman god Janus, as many of you will know. He had two faces, one looking forward and one looking back. Not a bad idea for this article. For those of you who don’t know anything about me I am a keen bird watcher and all round nature lover. As I am writing this four of the twenty odd Blackbirds, which are haunting my garden are parading along the hedge. I love watching them as they move like clockwork busy chasing each other in a purposeful but sedate manner, rather a gentlemanly ‘excuse me but you are on my patch’ It was a funny autumn with the weather holding the winter migrants back in Scandinavia or forcing them on to the Continent but the bad weather over the channel has prompted a move on to our shores, may be mistaken, but many of the Blackbirds around now are probably Continental ones and there are certainly large numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings about, mainly at the Orchards at Thornham. The trees there still have apples on them! They look like Christmas baubles when the sun catches them. I have also noticed a vast increase in the number of Chaffinch in the garden in the last few weeks. There were very few about through the spring, summer and early autumn, where they are from I am not sure, may be local or even Continental again. Did you notice the other great invasion of 2009? the huge numbers of Painted Lady Butterflies. They were certainly from the Continent. They will have started a journey around the Med. and by successive hatchings invaded us; I remember the weekend they arrived. I was doing a sea watch with friends at Holme and I gave up counting birds and started counting butterflies. They were pouring up the coast and we heard later that there were thousands an hour flying over Norwich area. They then bred here and their offspring or at least some of them headed back across the Channel in early autumn.
Looking forward what can we hope for? Well as far as I am concerned warmer weather!! However February will see the beginning of the Pinkfeet leaving us, sometimes they go fairly early in the month on their long haul back to the ‘frozen north’ I will miss them there is nothing quite so guaranteed to pull at my heart strings than the big flocks stitching their way across our skies. Of course the rhyme continues with February brings the rain, may be or may be more snow!! Still at least the days are growing longer, although even that holds a threat as the old country saying is ‘As the days grow longer the cold grows stronger’ help!! However there is still the chance to enjoy the ‘naked’ trees, I love their form and colours, the deep red of the Oak, the flash of orange from the willows and the grey smooth trunks of the Beeches. Keep your eyes open and you’ll be surprised what you can see and maybe you will be able to praise our creator God for his wonders.