I have decided to pour the watery contents of one month into the other, to make a blog full to the brim.
These days I like to offset the effect of increasing age and pessimism, and positively discriminate in outlook. So from the glass half full perspective, I should talk about the wonderful absence of frost and snow this winter.
I can enthuse about the ease for wildlife, in the way of available food, not this year frozen in the soil or the lake. Our waterfowl, unlike some recent past years, did not look like they were auditioning for ‘Frozen Planet’!
And normally so rare in our county of Wiltshire, we could often enjoy the sound of rushing white water mixing with the sound of gales blasting through the bare trees, whilst enjoying a quick stop at our Chinese bridge between the two lakes. And there being time to notice beyond the white water, a choppy body of turbid khaki water with birds bobbing around.
Amongst themselves and in exchanges with the public the Team has taken part in the great debate about if the present conditions are due to man made climate change. Also there will be a change in the suitability of our country to its current wildlife population, which will favour some species, but not others.
The ground conditions limit the range of tasks the Wardens are engaged in. Much of our work in these two months has been making safe fallen and damaged trees. Our volunteer force has been a great assistance in the cutting up and moving the arboreal victims of the storms.
We have been reminded of the value our visitors attach to LydiardPark as a countryside venue of choice. The few sunny days we have experienced since Christmas, have produced a fantastic response in visitor numbers. I contend that ‘cabin fever’, and an instinctive requirement to experience the outdoors, has condensed our visitors into these few fine days. We have had days when all our parking was taken up, so please be patient as a visitor, with the advent of drier weather we will have our overflow parking area again in use.
With a feeling of having rounded the worst dark days of winter, we welcomed the appearance of our fantastic snowdrop display. These have now been joined by the crocus, with the purple variety coming to the fore.
And now at the end of the month we see daffodils in bud, with some showing an odd welcome golden flower. Some sheltered hawthorn trees are bursting into life, and wild cherries are showing white blooms. The hazels are festooned with pollen bearing catkins and pussy willows (goat willow) are near to their welcome display.
So from the perspective of the ‘glass half full’ position, spring is around the corner, and the ground being well watered, will sustain a long lush summer for us all.
Mark Eborn, Lydiard Park Warden