It is Spring in the northern hemisphere which, in our tiny bit of the half globe, means that it is time to cut the Wildlife Triangle, the small area of unkempt herbaceousness at the lower end of the front lawn. Following a Winter where the long grass gradually turned a paler golden colour, dochan and umbellifer stems collapsed under the strain of resisting gale force winds and annual weeds just plain old shrivelled up and disappeared, it was badly in need of some TLC (that isn't an abbreviation for any chemical product, by the way).
Lacking the presence of any herbivorous megafauna in the area (or, in the vernacular, a load of aurochs), this is a task which falls to Yours Truly.
[Unnervingly, just as I finished typing that sentence, there was a loud "Moo... !" from close by. Dashing outside, I discovered a few of next door's coos and calves critiquing my work]
Yup, whilst the lawn generally has a short cut, the Wildlife Triangle has its annual severe cropping. This entails gradually dropping the mower blades a bit at a time on repeated passes until the metal/earth noises become too scary.
And every year, like clockwork, a pair of Linnets show up to take advantage of the bare sward, patches of soil and the weed seeds contained therein. They're a bit flighty, so my attempts to photograph them are through a window (of varying cleanliness).
They spend an inordinate amount of time in there, I guess that, to them, it is as if a bit of Winter stubble has just appeared.
Yesterday morning, I wandered into the lounge and glanced casually out of the window, just as a bird flew behind a small pile of rubble. Several thoughts crossed my mind, echoingly, some wearing boots:
"It looked like a... no, it couldn't be... "
"What if I don't see it again?!"
"Dare I leave the window unmanned and dash for the camera?!"
I did opt for the camera, and after a short (but nervous) wait, the bird appeared again, hopping about on the edge of the flower border and the hard standing.
I don't think I had seen one of these birds in Orkney, and certainly not in our garden. Apologies for the hurried images taken through a window which I thought I'd cleaned.
A female Bullfinch! Wow!
Whilst writing this post, there's been another slight interruption, as I spotted my first Swallow of 2019, hawking for insects over the adjacent meadow. It's all starting to happen! So, the big question is, dare I leave the window view to go and make a cup of tea?
Update, later in the day: I mowed the lawn again this morning. By the time I returned the mower to the garage, the Linnets were back on the patch! Then, when I walked back out of the garage, a few seconds later, a warbler had appeared on the lawn (Chiffchaff or Willow?), and after I returned from taking the green waste to the tip, Mrs Bullfinch turned up again. But don't worry, I have made time for tea and cake.