Birdsong and beech trees…

Birdsong and beech trees…

Thank you to everyone who visited the website for the Spring Fling | At Home bank holiday weekend which would have been Spring Fling this year, and for the encouragement and lovely comments and feedback, it’s been really nice to connect. My plan going forward is to keep the website regularly updated and make it into a virtual studio, and a place where we can connect and share creativity.

It’s been a beautiful Spring week so far, the trees here are all just about green, please feel free to share what you are seeing and doing in the comments below.

a photograph of a beech tree tunnel in Laurieston, Dumfries and Galloway by Catherine Coulson © 2020 Catherine Coulson
a photograph of a beech tree tunnel in Laurieston, Dumfries and Galloway by Catherine Coulson © 2020 Catherine Coulson



Early this morning it was already bright and blue-skied, the mountain tops across the estuary were poking out of low valley cloud. The day warmed up quickly and the Lakes faded into haze, the birds were very loud, though notably less visible than usual. The rain that has fallen after so many weeks of dry weather has succeeded in re-wetting the almost completely dried stream, and provided lunchtime viewing of gatherings of minute ant like creatures, skimming about on the surface, presumably young from the small water cricket nearby. There was also a long white horsehair worm, contorting and stretching about in the pool, and various trails in the muddy sediment still exposed along the sides, where the ferns are unfurling. A cuckoo has arrived here today, calling from somewhere nearby and an orange-tip butterfly is flitting around the stream. In the evening I walked to the view, most of the Almorness headland across the bay was already cast in shade, deep grey with a pale misty softness making it almost disappear, but each treetop across the whole woodland was lit with brilliant golden-orange sunlight. On the way back, I could hear a strange low buzzing noise, quite loud, I walked towards it, thinking there may be a bees nest. However when I got closer it stopped. Then again further on I heard it, and realised that it was coming from swarms of tiny midges which were only visible in the last shafts of sunlight, dancing under the trees.



This morning as I was drinking my tea in bed, I heard a scrabbling at the dormer window; a red squirrel popped its head through the bottom sash which was open a couple of inches, then squeezed its forearms and body through, inspecting the room; it looked a little surprised when it saw me and made a quick retreat onto the roof. It is hot again today after a quick and much needed rain shower, a red admiral is sunbathing on the house wall. A young deer has been sleeping in the garden this week, staying close to the stream to get the last trickle of water. The bluebells are beginning to go over now, and disappearing as the meadow grass grows up.



Today I was able to access my studio for the first time, very nice to see my work and materials again and grab a few bits to bring back home. Beautiful drive back across the Laurieston Road today, the moor top was covered in cottongrass, bobbing about in the breeze and catching the silvery light. Coming down into Laurieston, a section of road is lined with old beech trees that form a tunnel, the new leaves had just opened making an intense glowing green, wonderful and resting.



Walked down to Rockcliffe bay this evening, the air was perfumed with all sorts of scents; lilac, hawthorn blossom, gorse and pink dog-roses that smell incredible. Sea thrift is covering the rocks and salt marsh, very pretty, the tide was partially in, with sandbars exposed where seabirds were feeding.



Warm and beautiful day today, the birds are singing and lots of flowers are opening their first flowers in the garden, day lilies, geraniums, alliums, geums, silenes and large paeony buds appearing amongst the ferns by the stream. The herbs are doing really well this year, great for cooking and making herbal teas. There is a very loud bird that has rather ominously been singing the opening to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony each time I go outside – da da da daaah! I had a quick search online, there seems suggestion that he was inspired by the song of the yellowhammer or ortolan bunting, so perhaps that’s it as there are resident yellowhammers; though from the recordings it sounds most like the ortolan bunting which is highly unlikely, or perhaps a reed bunting. Maybe a starling that’s been listening to Classic FM!

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