It's Friday evening. Thank God. My week has been one of pure graft.
The weather was pretty abyssmal on Monday and Tuesday so I caught up with a few stoat traps and cut, carted and split (with an axe) a load of firewood. (There's a saying that firewood warms you more than once. Not half!)
But the rest of the week had been filled with putting grit trays out on the hill. And by my calculations, I've cut about 300 divots in the last 3 days. Boy, do I ache.
Since last weeks blizzards, temperatures have soared again and more and more birds are returning to the hill. This week has seen the return of Osprey, Golden Plover, Ring Ouzel and Wheatear. And some of the residents have been putting on their best shows recently. Golden Eagles- those Kings of Birds- make a noise like a puppy needing out for a pee, however their display makes up for it. The cock bird sweeps up to a height then folds his wings and stoops like a stukka. Then he does it a few more times for good measure.
I watched a Raven doing a similar thing a few weeks back (they say the Raven is Britains earliest nesting bird) but with the added bravado of him flipping over onto his back before the stoop. Unfortunately for him this fine showboating is completely undone by the laughable attempt at singing. I could hear him making a series of randomly-pitched croaks; it must work for she-ravens, however. (Let's face it-they can't have any taste. Look at what they eat!)
Every dub on the hill is seething with frogs and they're at it like rabbits, while in the parks the rabbits are..er.. not showing much sign of anything just now, truth be told.
For any Southerners reading this, I'm sure you'll laugh to hear that we're celebrating the snowdrops being out and the daffodils and crocuses are sprouting up quickly. Buds are appearing on the trees and that reminds me that I'll have to get round them quick (yes, all of them on my beat) checking for crows nests before they come into leaf.
Anything but grit piles!!