Spring is on the way!
I don’t know about you but I love this time of year. As the season turns the days begin to lengthen and there are signs of spring as the daffodils push through and the snowdrops come into flower. I’ve been observing the flowering patterns of wild flowers for many years but there’s not much around at the moment with only a few species – white deadnettle, shepherd’s purse, groundsel and daisy – keeping going unless there is a particularly hard frost, so in the winter months I tend to concentrate more on the birds. At any time of the year I am drawn to the north Norfolk coast and at this time of the year it is a magnet for migrant birds overwintering. Even on the coldest day it’s still wonderful to sit in a hide trying to work out which wader is which and identifying (rather more successfully) the ducks – teal, wigeon, tufted duck and gadwall – and then there’s the thrill of seeing rarer birds like the beautiful pintail, smew and goldeneye (very aptly named). Calling in at Welney on the way home, there are the wild swans – Whooper and Bewick. And my own garden is busy every day with a lot of traffic to and from our feeding station and the surrounding trees. God’s creation is truly wonderful and I never cease to marvel at it. And we are part of that creation too. Sometimes we get so absorbed in our busy lives that we forget to raise our heads and look around and when we do that we run the risk of losing touch with the rhythm of nature, missing out on so much that is life-giving. So next time you go out, take a good look around, sniff the air and listen to the birdsong. It’s food for the soul.