It's 11 deg and pouring down outside ... welcome to early June in the UK .. must mean it's time for a 'cheer up' Blog!
Those of us with an interest in wildlife and the natural world, will no doubt be glued to the evening episodes of the BBC Springwatch programme.
I've embarked on a badly organised, 'haphazard-only-happens-when-I-remember-to-do-it' citizen science 'WILDlife at Home' project.
Regular readers (Hi Mum! ha ha) will know that we bought a modest portion of land adjoining our house and have managed this to be part wildflower meadow and part woodland. It's an interesting experience learning how to work the different habitats to support British Wildlife.
Let's get started then .... first up at the top of the Blog is a shot of what I can hope for from the Ox-eye daisy display in a week or two (taken late June last year) and this years surprise visitor, appearing not 10m above the house last week - a Red Kite locked on to my gaze - I'm not sure who was the more surprised in fact, me or the beautiful Raptor.
Next up ... how about this for a classic spring visitor to our garden ponds at Harris Acres. The Broad-bodied Chaser led me a merry dance around the waterline as I tried to get in place for the perfect shot, without getting wet!
Finally, the beast cooperated and basked in the sun just long enough for me to take the shot.
So in the spirit of a good Springwatch Trail Cam feature, here's 'our' Fox. Showing up in daylight inspiring much camouflage tent hide erection, evening stake-outs and the inevitable frustrating wait for a repeat appearance for the camera.
The good news is that the Fox is visiting every evening .... the bad news is that ever since this daylight appearance, this cunning Reynard has taken to waiting for the precise moment when the dusk turns to night and hence too dark for photography, grrrr!!
We have a Badger pottering through in the depth of the night (trailcam again captured the evidence) and even more thrilling .... Hares racing through the woodland for a romp through the meadow (video below the pics).
How do I know this, because I've tried (and failed) to catch an evocative picture of their antics, managing only an early morning long distance shot from the bathroom window and another of one of them apparently levitating down the path from the woodland to the meadow.
Of course, it's not only spring-time fauna that makes it such a brilliant season, the wildflower meadow has already provided a carpet of cowslips and is now the proud host to wild orchids! It's something you learn quite quickly - let the wild do it's thing with as little human intervention as possible and it never ceases to delight.
... so finally to an increasingly rare harbinger of spring .... the Cuckoo.
We are blessed to be visited by seemingly many Cuckoo's, with the males arriving a week or so before the bubbling female call can be heard responding to the male's 'Cuckoo call'.
I've tried in vain (another epic fail ala Foxy Woxy), to persuade the birds to land on a lovely perch, offering juicy huge mealworms (they arrive in the post ... no kidding), but alas to no avail.
I've had to be satisfied with capturing their fly-bys from the bedroom balcony, with one shot with a field of rapeseed in the background a particular favourite.
There you have it then .... it may be a slightly damper affair than we would like, but proof positive, that it is possible to have your own little Springwatch without hitting The Cairngorms and wearing traffic light co-ordinated puffa jackets - long live Chris, Michaela and Yolo nonetheless!!
Happy WILDerness watching everyone!