Thursday, March 29, 2018

Barnhill waking up for Spring

The ice has finally melted from Barnhill, the ground is warming up, and the hill seems to be waking up for Spring. The first daffodils are opening, and animals are venturing out too. Rodents must be scampering about in the undergrowth, because the buzzards have resumed their diligent patrols of the woods. 

Now that the pond has unfrozen, the giant heron has taken up residence again, along with the ducks. Once the heron has nested, there are great fights to be watched on Barnhill, as the buzzards try and evade its great beak, in order to steal its eggs.

The woods have not yet grown thick with bracken though. In these early days of Spring, you can see right through the woods. In only a few weeks time, the ferns will be waist high, and dense - and accompanied by acres of nettles.  The woods will change dramatically, and though the sun will be brighter, they will feel much darker and less airy than they do today. The deer had a sniff around the woods, but seem to have retreated back to more sheltered areas, because March 2018 had a big late snowfall, a Siberian storm nicknamed 'the beast from the east' No doubt, as soon as the saplings start to grow, they'll come and eat everything! 

Red squirrels seem to be everywhere though. In the quiet of the little gap between Barnhill and Kinnoull Hill, their skitterring and clicketting around the great trees is audible above the sparkling birdsong. Chasing each other round and round the trunks, and leaping from tree-to-tree, these shy little reds are a lovely sight. Somewhere out there, there is a woodpecker, manically attacking the trees. His percussion rings out through the quiet of the woods in the evenings, but he's very had to see, and as yet, impossible to photograph.

Over on Kinnoull Hill, its getting really busy, crowds of people trooping up and down the grey, gravel paths the council poured all over the hill. There's always a trail of litter about too, which is sad. There's been no sign of the peregrine falcon around the cliffs yet, but I'll keep watching for that.

Back on Barnhill, there's a lovely little Spring (not the one that splutters from a broken pipe!), which oozes and eases water into a little rivulet. It runs only when the weather has been wet, and is running nicely at the moment, as the soil is still saturated with snow-melt.

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