Yesterday, as I was walking under low drizzly cloud, listening to a song thrush and watching a buzzard flap lazily from its perch by the river, the chorus of an old Ian Dury song started to run through my head. ‘Reasons to be cheerful…’
This week I’ve had many reasons to be cheerful.
On Sunday morning I took the dog out early before a day on the Somerset Levels with friends and a fellow blogger (see http://insectrambles.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/slightly-further-afield.html). It seemed as if a pent up energy had been released after the rain and storms of the previous weeks. The sky was blue; there was warmth in the sun, and a light frost. As I walked down to the river I heard a dunnock singing in the hawthorn hedge beside me. It’s a sweet but unremarkable song that becomes the background for other more versatile performers as the year progresses, but he was a soloist, the first of the year, and he made me smile. Not long afterwards I heard a woodpecker drumming in the woods, another first, later than usual but he seemed to be making up for lost time.
On Monday I thought I saw a stirring in the garden pond but I couldn’t be certain.
On Tuesday I was gazing out of the bedroom window mentally composing a blog about the absence of siskins when I realised there was one on my feeder. I checked with binoculars to make sure and counted five more in the apple tree. I always look forward to their arrival, but they were so late this year I thought they weren’t going to come at all. It wasn’t long before they were chasing the goldfinches off the feeders as if they were theirs by right; feisty little birds, I love them. Before I went downstairs I turned my binoculars onto the pond and there, sure enough, I could just make out the shape of a frog, yet another new arrival.
The siskins usually leave in mid March but I am hoping that, as they appeared late, they will stay a bit longer. I am also hoping that the frog will be joined by many more and soon, once again, my pond will become a tangle of arms and legs and frogspawn. Winter is turning into spring, what better reason to be cheerful.