first swallow, first egg, first burrow

Winking Marybuds begin
To open their golden eyes -Cymbeline Act 2

It is almost as if the Estate Agents have moved in. The garden, the allotment, the woods seem to be full of house/nest/burrow To Let and Vacant signs. Every living thing here in my small corner of the planet is bent on moving house and raising a family. The blackbird has 2 eggs in her new nest-the first one was robbed by magpies, as I feared. The current abode is lovely but in another daft place, about 3 feet above ground level. I despair for her, but perhaps it is such a silly place she will succeed.

The lawn bears tiny holes, as if fairies in stilettos have bees dancing,  where equally tiny mining  bees  have set up home.

That’s a centimetre rule, so those little holes measure about 3mm across-less than 1/4 inch. And here is the (probable) architect,  a Tawny mining bee (Andrena fulva) wearing her copper coloured coat. Entirely harmless to humans, and like all the solitary bees, an important pollinator.

As I was scrabbling around on the grass I was thinking that the more you learn about something, the more you recognise what you are looking at, and the more you see, the more you realise there is to know.  That’s about as profound as I got today.

My afternoon was spent in grand company at Great Chalfield Manor, a glorious medieval manor house 10 miles from here. Even as I waited for the company to assemble for  a wildlife walk, I watched the first swallows I have seen this Spring skimming over the field in front of the manor house. No turning the year  back now.

At the top of the page is a picture I took of Marsh marigolds or Kingcups, Caltha palustris, growing in the moat near the main entrance. Marigold, I learned today,  refers to its use in churches in medieval times at Easter time as a tribute to the  Virgin Mary, as in Mary gold.