It was perhaps the mistral winds on Saturday that kept the crowds away, but when we arrived at one of our favourite woodlands, it was all but empty. This made for a peaceful, if windy, walk and a nice chance to get out of the house for a decent amount of time. Whilst I am struggling to get to grips with the notion that it is already a quarter of the way through June (I’m sure it was April last time I checked?!), the birds are deep into the swing of chick-rearing and feeding and it’s taking its toll on the parents, who are beginning to look a little weary and hen-pecked as they juggle moulting and rearing simultaneously. Judging by how many fevered dashes backwards and forwards to the feeders were made in the time we were watching, there must be a good many plump chicks to feed. Each bird approaches feeding their little ones differently; some favouring peanuts to sunflower seeds, others (the great tits) bullying their smaller cousins (coal tits) off the feeders; some are content with just plodding around (pheasants) where others skittishly analyse each feeder for its contents (jackdaws). Did you know that jackdaws mate for life? They’re rapidly becoming one of my favourite birds as I watch them each morning from our kitchen window and see them on the roofs of neighbouring houses. Thankfully they don’t seem to like our chimney as much as they do some of the other houses, so our chimney sweep shouldn’t have too much of a job when he next comes to sweep ours!
As for the woodland itself, it seems only a month ago that it was thick with frost and ice, but no, it was 4 months ago, which goes to show that time stands still for no man (or woman!). The vast, empty, leaft-littered spaces have been replaced by lush greenery, bracken, nettles, wild strawberries and grasses. It really is the start of summer.