Lazy arse that I am, I'm writing this post in bed, as through the window, I monitor the progress of two Crows in an Ash tree by the old canal towpath.
It's not yet eight o'clock on Sunday morning. I didn't sleep well and though I don't feel tired, neither do I feel like rising and running headlong at the day.
Bed is a good vantage point to watch the Crows. For the past few weekend mornings, we've seen them perched in the same tree when we first open the curtains. They're definitely a pair, happy spending time together, as perhaps you might at this time of year. On sunny mornings, they sit at the top of the tree, facing into the new day, their glossy black feathers soaking up the golden light until you think they might spontaneously combust with all that heat.
There's a certain amount of cawing, as you might expect, but much, much more in the way of tail flicking. From just the right angle, this has the effect of producing a bold, dark, fan shape, as if they're portraying some aged, life-embittered widows in a period drama.
Occasionally, over the last month or so, a few twigs have been carried into the tree. This has seemed a half-hearted endeavour at best, which made us think that they were either new to this breeding malarkey or undecided as to whether this was a good nest site. Whilst the late winter winds have produced a surfeit of broken branches on the ground, our two erstwhile nest builders have been more concerned with trying to break off perfectly healthy twigs, still very much attached to trees. I appreciate that these would make much more sturdy foundations for a home to raise one's family, but frankly, just worrying away at it with the occasional peck isn't going to have the desired result.
However, my cynicism seems to be unfounded, as this morning, twig after twig has been transported into the Ash tree. Whether this means that a decision has been reached, as regards a nest site, is still open to question. Unlike the adjacent tree, this particular Ash still retains many bunches of keys from last year, so it is still too difficult to judge whether there is a growing conglomeration of twiggyness. We'll consider this a work in progress and see what develops.
Yesterday was a peach of a Spring day. It began with one of those frosty, bright mornings that somehow creep into your slumbers through the heavy curtains and wake you up earlier than normal, even for a week day let alone a Saturday. All thoughts of chores went out of the window, in a reciprocal arrangement with the sunlight flooding in.
Never mind "Hang spring cleaning!", this particular morning came with a stay of execution signed by the goddess Oestre herself.
Our Lass was not to be persuaded to forego breakfast however, so I ventured out alone, as the warm rays of the sun dispelled the last of the frost from the ground. In the mood for woods and hedgerows, I wandered the field margins to Little Linford Wood and out along the ridge. Standing a while by a ruined stone barn, I soaked up the sounds of the birds around me. A flock of Tree Sparrows with their flat chirrups, a Wren with its glorious fanfare and Yellowhammers, er... hammering out their signature tune of "A little bit of bread and no cheese". There was just one brief glimpse of a Hare, as it shot across a field, put to flight by dog walkers.
Back home again, it was time to reclaim the conservatory. Through the Winter, it had become more of a garden shed, full of mud, cobwebs and bits of dead plants. A thorough dusting, vacuum cleaning and washing ensued, so that by late afternoon, it was possible to sit in the glow of a job well done and the gentle rays of a rosy sun.
A final potter of the day saw us walk along the canal to watch the full moon rise over the eastern horizon. Whilst a day early, this seemed a fitting way to mark the equinox.