At long last I can stop feeding the log burner to stay in overnight, I can throw off the second duvet and I can stop walking around looking like Michelin man, shed the layers and get my T shirts out! It’s a far cry from minus15C, frozen water pipes and no running water but warm sunshine and temperature nudging 20C within 4 weeks is certainly very welcome.
The flowers are beginning to emerge again in the hedgerows with Celandines and Snowdrops especially prominent from late Feb. Wild Daffodils and several other flowers that to be honest I can’t identify (will have to get the field guides out!).
I tried to take some ‘artistic’ photographs of the Celandines recently and here are a couple of the best.
Feb 29th was a particularly lovely day around here and I took the opportunity to grab my camera and binoculars and head for Le Bren. Highlights were a couple of splendid returning Marsh Harriers searching out a likely nesting site and several good butterflies including this Comma which was so obliging I'm sure it had just emerged from the pupae.
I shall be posting a bird report for Jan / February later this week and the Le Bren sightings will be included in that so I wont dwell on other avian highlights for the day.
Can't not mention this though - first Cuckoo of the year on March 8th (easily my earliest record) calling down by the river here at La Macherie.
A local singing Chiff Chaff on the 9th with 2 Blackcaps the following day were probably early returning birds rather than overwintering individuals and overhead Cranes have been wheeling North for the past 2 - 3 weeks along with Lapwings, Finches, Skylarks and a good passage of Golden Plover.
Shame I haven't been able to photograph any of these good birds. I've been trying to put a brave face on this and put it in perspective but for a photographer the sudden malfunctioning of your best lens is like watchmaker going blind! No need for the technical details but in brief, my 200-500ml Tamron lens decided one day last month to stop communicating with my camera and no end of cleaning of the electrical contacts and messing around will persuade it to start talking!
Not easy to take it back to the shop until I return to the UK but confident a repair will be forthcoming, at which point I'll be offloading in order to pay back the money I've laid out on this beauty (pic right) - the Canon EF 400 usm. The best prime lens of its kind and has been described as a 'belter' my some my fellow bird photographers. Not arrived as yet but eagerly awaited!