Outside Temp for April/May

Well what a difference a bit of warmth makes.  

In early April the temperature struggled to get into double figures, and when it did warm up,  the soil was still cold. It was only till about the first week in May that all hell started to break loose!  If you wanted a lawn, you would now have to start cutting the grass every 7 to 10 days now, as it’s growing so fast.

The same goes for the rest of the countryside. In the woods the floor is still completely covered in Bluebells ( Both English and Spanish varieties) and Ramson ( Allium Ursinum). For me, the garlicy perfume of  the Ramsons really signal that Summer has finally started. The hedgerows are also running rampant with Red Campion and  Cow Parsley and Forget-Me-Not being in particular abundance at the moment.

Our lawn with Daisies, Creeping Buttercup & Common Field-speedwell

The one noticeable thing about the lawn is that the Dandelions have all but vanished, but have been replaced by great swathes of Daisys, Creeping Buttercups and Common Field-speedwell.

Our cataloguing project is making slower progress than hoped. We recently had a 10 day Spring break in Wales and trying to perfect the photographing technique for our finds is taking a little longer than anticipated. So far, we have added the following Flora to our list.

  • Three Cornered Garlic (Allium triquetrum)
  • Dame’s-violet (Hesperis matronalis)
  • St Patrick’s Cabbage (Saxifraga hypnoides)
  • Creeping Buttercup. (Ranunculus repens)
  • Common Dog Violet (Viola riviniana)
  • Red Campion (Silene dioica)
  • Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
  • Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
  • Common Field-speedwell (Veronica persica)

We’ve had another visitation from Mr (or is it Mrs) Fox. Both these were captured on Sand’s wildlife camera randomly plonked outside on one of the many animal tracks that criss-cross our policies.

We think this is a different animal than we saw a few weeks before. While both seem to be suffering from mange, the shape on both is slightly different.

Both these were shot in total darkness, but we have seen a fleeting glimpse of Mr Fox during daylight on the odd occasion.

On the bird front, everything seems to have bogged off. The Cuckoo is still about, but the Blue and Great Tits which were so prevalent, earlier this year have gone.

We are still putting out food on the table, but perhaps they have found a better chef 🙂 The occasional Chaffinch appears but most of what we see when they do venture out to the table,  are Dunnocks.  We also sighted the Goldfinches for about 10 seconds as they made their way over the house, but apart from that, all we have seen are Magpies, Rooks and what I have been calling Hooded Crows. However, having looked at the Bird book properly, what I’ve thought were hoodies all these years, are in fact Jackdaws. What is worse, is  that both birds really are completely different….Idiot!!! 🙂

Oh. I forgot the House Martins. There are still lots of these around. These seem to mostly become really active later in the day. Most hunt for insects at below 20 metres, but occasionally we have seen them much higher. I guess they must be feeding on insects caught in thermal columns. One evening we rushed outside to investigate a twittering ruckus, and saw a House Martin aggressively pursuing a Swallow. We think it was a Swallow as the tail and colouring is quite distinctive. However, we have not seen Swallows anywhere around here before, so this one must have been en route somewhere!

We have been doing a bit of dry stone wall building around the path leading up to the Observatory. While nowhere near perfect, everything is sitting on good solid foundations and is as solid as the Forth Bridge, so I’m happy with that.


…and After

The bed on the right is to encourage growth of some wild flowers, but I suspect this area is too exposed to the high winds we get up here and that anything delicate will end up being flattened if it sticks its head out of the soil 🙁