February fools

Spring has come early in 2019 in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a wonderful thing to enjoy some sunshine and warmth. Such are the fleeting pleasures of unwanted climate change.

Snowdrops in January and February are something we can expect to enjoy after Christmas. A brightening of the new year.

Snowdrops in Netherbury 15 February 2019
Snowdrops in Netherbury 15 February 2019

There are the beautiful colours of bare branches against a blue winter sky.

Beautifully bare
Beautifully bare

Here in West Dorset there always the delights of being near the seaside. When I see these bleached rushes on the River Brit as it nears West Bay it makes me think of times long ago, before there were houses here, and centuries before the harbour was built.

Bleached rushes River Brit at West Bay 27 February 2019
Bleached rushes River Brit at West Bay 27 February 2019

With so few landing places along this coast, it’s not too hard to imagine Viking invaders finding their way inland. Or traders heading for the Roman road.

Mouth of the River Brit 27 February 2019
Mouth of the River Brit 27 February 2019

(At one time I was interested in buying that blue cabin until a friend pointed out that the wall appeared to be made of sandbags. After that it was the home of David Tennant’s character in ‘Broadchurch’ and became a tourist attraction.)

One of the things I like best about the dead of winter is the feeling that time stands still – even if that’s only a feeling.

But this year, the warm weather has hastened the coming of Spring.

Crocus and solitary bee 20 February 2019Crocus and solitary bee 20 February 2019
Crocus and solitary bee 20 February 2019

I’m glad we planted crocuses in the autumn so there’s something open now for those early solitary bees and hover-flies. Every year, with small changes, we try to help the wildlife along. I would love to see more flowers on the verges everywhere.

The view from my writing window is always changing. Here it is at the beginning of February.

Allington Hill 1 February 2019
Allington Hill 1 February 2019

Since then we have had the warmest February since records began. Despite the frosts mornings, the magnolia tree in front of the house in this picture is showing white tips that grow bigger by the day.

Allington Hill 27 February 2019
Allington Hill 27 February 2019

Could it be that the magnolia is already in bloom? It’s usually due out in April. I had to take a closer look.

Magnolia flowers 27 February 2019
Magnolia flowers 27 February 2019

Gorgeous as they are I hope these don’t suffer if we have the same kind of March as last year, with two lots of snow and an assault from the icy wind known as ‘The Beast from the East’.

As I write a bumble bee is battering itself against the window. I can only hope it hasn’t used up too much energy trying to fly through the building instead of around it. At least there is a chance of finding food.

So many flowers are out early. As well as lesser celandines, daffodils and primroses, the grape hyacinths and even the camellia in its sunny spot (not pictured here) are coming into bloom.

The birds are busy courting and finding their nest sites. This morning I watched two blackbirds vying for one female. There are daily battles. The blue tits meanwhile are considering the nest box that was home to a brood last year. What a proud achievement that was for this tiny garden!

Last year's nest
Last year’s nest

Six babies fledged and flew, leaving behind this one egg in the nest, unhatched. The nest box is back in place, ready for a new brood – if we should be so lucky again.

It’s all as uncertain as the weather and the future: so we enjoy the sunshine while we may. The first blossoms fading remind us of time speeding on, but while we can, let’s experience the glory!

Prunus by the old railway line Bridport-West Bay
Prunus by the old railway line
Bridport-West Bay
27 February 2019

What has February been like in your part of the world? Are you noticing the effects of climate change?

Is there anything you’re doing to help wildlife, particularly birds and insects?

Do you have tips or experiences to share?

10 thoughts on “February fools

  1. Glorious photos! My early childhood was in Melbourne, Australia, and back then in baby boomer times we were more strongly part of the Commonwealth so text books and children’s book were mostly British. Your photos gave me a jolt back to all the beautiful, evocative books I read. Often with hand-drawn illustrations, I think I absorbed English plant names better than Australian ones. Melbourne gets much colder than Brisbane so I remember ‘anyone who was anyone’ had a magnolia tree growing in their front garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s very lovely of you to say so. The quote ‘same-same but different’ applies I think. Maybe you could plan a book tour 🙂 Our native wildlife here in suburbia consists of possums, native bees (stingless), flocks of birds both European and Australian and because it has been an exceedingly hot summer, we put out bowls of water. Even the lizards need a sip!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh, that sounds good. Gives me something to think about! I’m working on a post of my recent early morning visit to our botanical gardens and I did think ‘what a contrast’ when I saw your post. I cringe saying this, but if you type key words into the search bar on my blog, e.g. koala, Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane, garden notes, etc, up will come previous posts of my general neighbourhood.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everything has been bursting into life a little earlier each year in our area, too. On the one hand it’s lovely seeing the blossoms, but I do find it worrying. All I can do is try to keep the bird feeders topped up, and stop worrying about weeding – dead nettles seem to flower early too, and I’ve got a carpet of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dead nettles, despite the name, could be attractive ground cover! And I think that bumble bees and mason bees can feed on them so that’s helping too. The blossoms are coming early and going early, which always feels like spring is rushing by. Still beautiful though.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.