While we wait impatiently for life to return to normal, nature carries on without a care for human affairs. Dormant trees, shrubs, and plants are shaking off their winter slumbers and preparing for their blossoming and fruiting year.
In the garden new leaves and budding blossom are breaking out everywhere. Our plum was covered in pink blossom, the earliest fruit flowers to emerge, maybe we’ll get our first ever crop of plums this year! The white blossom of the pear and damson are just coming on, and the apples and crab apples have tight red buds, soon to break forth.
The two flowering currants are in full display with bees hovering around them all day. This year our common lilac is covered in buds. It is in the front hedge for about ten years and has only once ever flowered, two years ago. Last year: nothing.
Our robins, blackbirds and collared doves are pairing up and performing great courting rituals. Yesterday two wood pigeons did a full patrol of the garden, I think they are home hunting.
By the canal new life is emerging too. We saw our first baby ducklings this week, clustered tightly around the mother duck, furiously paddling in her wake. The first wave of swallows is in, we saw the advance party of two on 30 March swooping above the canal and the numbers are now growing. The swans have disappeared, they must be nest building in some secluded place. On Easter Sunday we saw the kingfisher, his russet breast as he perched on a branch and then a flash of electric blue wings as he flew fast and straight along the length of the water. Two weeks ago we spotted a turtle, its head was above the surface for air before it dived under, and we could see its small fat legs doing the breast strike. I don’t think the turtle is normally found in the canal, it must have escaped from a domestic setting, but it seemed happy and I’m sure it has access to plenty of food.
Primroses, and their cousins the cow slips, are now in profusion, sometimes mixed with violets. The furze and blackthorn bloom side by side and brighten up the dullest of days. The water lily leaves are beginning to unfurl under water, looking like large cabbages. We now await the arrival of the bad mannered cuckoo.