Monday, 2 April 2012

On squirrels and swans

The species around our bird feeder have increased quite a lot recently as birds keep arriving from their migration. It seems even the winter regulars are visiting it more often now. Perhaps the reason is that we happen to see them more often now that it is lighter and we are again having breakfast as well as most of our meals by the kitchen diner’s side table facing the garden and the twisted apple tree the feeder is hanging from.

A couple of squirrels have found the sunflower seeds we provide handy throughout the winter. There is plenty to eat for all kinds of wild animals in our private ‘Ai Weiwei work’. Nevertheless, this season I haven’t yet spotted the two raccoon dogs that have generally paid nightly visits to our garden in late winter. I’m sure I have stayed awake late enough – unluckily with my laptop by the wrong window in the study.

On Saturday, I drove to take some clothes to the flea market and saw three swans swimming on a ‘lake’ formed on a field by melting waters flowing there through a network of creeks from around the area. I believe even the waters from our creek will eventually end up this way. A flood is created on the low fields around the small river in a valley every spring and whenever there is excessive rainfall the earth cannot absorb, such as last December.

There were more swans, hundreds of them, further afield. My camera’s zoom wasn’t powerful enough to shoot them but the noise the flock made was amazing. As if hundreds of horns had been crying out at the same time in disorder.

However, the next night was very cold for this time of the year, close to -10°C (14°F). Most of the flood had frozen during the night. I didnt have a proper view but it appeared there were much fewer swans there on Sunday. The scene had attracted a few serious bird watchers with very impressive zooms but I had a go with my regular camera. Even so the photos later revealed there were also a few cranes taking refuge on the outskirts of the icy lake of flood.

The spot must be one that provides some shelter from the fierce north wind. Let’s hope the remaining birds will survive the next few cold nights, too.

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