Today it is cold and it began raining steadily at 7.00 and is set to do so all day and it's looking pretty miserable outside. It's often the case in this country that if you wish for a type of weather for too long, that when it does eventually arrive it doesn't know when to stop. That appears to be the case at the moment, throughout our long drought we prayed for rain and lots of it and boy are we getting it now. Trouble is, it's a bit too much at the wrong time, as we go into April, it's warmer weather that we need now, to get the grazing meadows growing nicely and to aid the ground nesting birds.
Lapwings nest on the ground and not in a nest as such, they simply make a depression in the soil/short grass and lay their four eggs into that depression. Steady rain such as today's, falling on to fairly water-logged ground, will inevitably, despite the brooding bird, soak and chill the bottom half of the eggs causing them to fail to hatch. This cold, wet weather is not going to do any favours at all to the Lapwings if it continues as is forecast, which is a real shame because nationally, they continue to decline as a breeding species.
Another casualty of this cold weather has been the frog spawn featured in my last blog posting. Lack of warming sun and at least one night when the pond surface briefly froze, has seen around 80% of the spawn fail to hatch any tadpoles. Hopefully the newts in the pond will fair much better as their eggs are laid individually under the water with a weed leaf wrapped around each.
In my garden the House Sparrows have been busy starting to build their nests and so far I have identified four nests under way, two in my hawthorn hedge and two in nest boxes. The Blue and Great Tits are slow to start though, despite inspecting the nest boxes I have put out for them. This is probably due to the cold weather and the current lack of the insect food that the Tits will need to feed their chicks with. Getting the timing of that insect food right is crucial to when the Tits will start breeding.
It's a frustrating time in the garden as well. During this last winter I reclaimed a largish section of the top end of the garden by digging out some evergreen shrubs that contributed nothing to either wildlife or scenery. I dug and manured that area and have recently been trying to plant all manner of plants that will add both massed colour and more importantly, attract and feed bees and butterflies, etc.. Unfortunately, cold wet clay is not best walked on and planted when the weather is as it is today, it's getting really frustrating watching pots of various plants stacking up on the patio waiting to be planted.
So, as I sit here looking at a cold and wet afternoon outside, the prospects of another Never Ending Winter increase by the day.