Can spring be far behind?
Well, there’s probably a while to go yet but the snow and ice has receded, for a while at least, the ground has softened and the wind lost its bite. The garden birds are going through one of those periods of unpredictable behaviour which they seem to display from time to time – competing aggressively for food they would usually ignore, in places they would normally avoid. So we have ground feeders swinging awkwardly from peanut holders or tipping sunflower seed out onto the floor (which could possibly be a planned manoeuvre) while other varieties, probably displaced by the hectic activity in the trees, forage around at ground level.
There’s been confrontation too, some of it unevenly matched: a robin facing down a blackbird over some kitchen scraps, and a pair of particularly bolshy blue tits rounding on a startled chaffinch who, at the time, appeared to be doing nothing more than patiently waiting her turn. Speaking of blue tits, the new nest box is being inspected with some regularity but the mood seems to be tentative rather than enthusiastic.
Oh, and there are snowdrops popping up in most of the usual places plus some new ones; but still, sadly, not in our garden where, despite all our encouragements down the years, they simply refuse to flourish.