Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Every Spring Is The Only Spring

Tadpoles In Egg Cells

Please click * (footnote before the videos) on each photograph to see the amazing detail, and you will see why, for me, Spring is the most marvellous season. I was born in the month of April, and each year I am filled with Spring Fever. Having not one, but, two ponds here at Barleycorn, I am fortunate to be able to observe each stage in the life-cycle of the common frog at close quarters.

Taddies With Gills

Each Spring I marvel at this miraculous spectacle of Nature with renewed enthusiasm. It matters not that I have witnessed it for each of the past twenty years since my Hubbie first created the ponds...for every Spring is the only Spring.

Tadpoles Swimming Freely

With my camera set to video mode, I went out each day and recorded the changes in their development, from spawn to tadpole. You can watch the results in the first little video, Barleycorn Taddies, at the end of this post and be filled with wonder at the metamorphosis.

Female Blackbird Gathering Nesting Material

As well as the frenzy of activity in the ponds, beginning each day with the Frog Chorus, we have also had the pleasure of being awakened by the Dawn Chorus, and a wonderful serenading Song Thrush...both of which are better than any alarm clock at enticing me out of bed. Because we have a lot of chaff left over from last year's spent flower stems, the usual suspects have been gathering their nesting material.

Blackbird's Nest

Each Autumn, I leave a crown of growth around my plants to protect them from severe frosts and to offer nesting material for the birds in Spring. This year, we have watched three pairs of Blackbirds, a Thrush, three pairs of Jackdaws and Titmice gathering chaff, moss, wool and twigs to make their nests.

Goldfinches And A Siskin

Nuts and seeds sustain the birds when they are feverishly engaged in building their nests. In the second video, Billing And Cooing, you will see a female blackbird using her beak to wrestle and tug chaff from the earth, for a whole day, and persevere until her beak could support no more strands, before flying off to a nearby Pine, where she began to weave her magic.

Siskin On A Garden Light

I do not use the word 'magic' lightly, to describe the truly wonderful creation of a bird's nest, for their intricacy never ceases to amaze me, knowing that, even with the use of a pair of hands, my effort would be a poor attempt. Though we found the nest lying on the ground the next day, the Blackbird began the marathon all over again, this time building the nest in a more sheltered Pine.

Double-Petalled Daffodil

Whenever our daffodils burst forth, I am always reminded of the exuberant song from the Mikado...
# The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring, Tra La #
... because they are further confirmation that Spring has arrived at last at Barleycorn. Another sign is the first appearance of 'our' Swallows, newly returned from their long trip from Africa to their nests in the Barn. This year we are fortunate to have three returning pairs.

Naturalised Daffodils

With the Swallows playing Spitfires, zooming in and out of the Barn from dawn to dusk each day, the car is once again sporting a dustsheet for the duration of our Barn visitors' sojourn. Further evidence of Spring is the fact that my log-piles have dwindled as pairs of Jackdaws replenished their nests in the Barn's three chimneys.

Orange-Centred Daffodil

There are five Dandelion plants in full bloom at the moment, given house-room in our garden so that Queen Bumble bees have sustenance when they crawl out of their underground hideaways each Spring... for our garden is very much one designed to encourage wildlife to take up residence.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly On Scilla

Small Tortoiseshell and Large White butterflies overwinter in the Barn. Several times over the years I have managed to rescue a few from cobwebs to enable them to fly off and begin their life-cycle. In the third video, Flowering At Barleycorn, you will see Taz, my constant companion, as I took the footage. Though our garden is very much in the early stages of Spring, with many joys still to unfold as the season progresses, I already feel I am bursting with joy, blessed with the wonder and majesty of it all and feeling positive about what the garden means in terms of conservation...reminding me we are the stewards of the earth.

Don't forget to turn up the volume to enjoy the musical accompaniment and the sounds of Nature in the background. Enjoy!

Click * If you decide to click to enlarge a photo, you can then click on a corner and the photo will open up to the size of the whole page...and then you will see everything in glorious detail!

The music accompanying Barleycorn Taddies is Delibes' Pizzicati.

The music accompanying Billing And Cooing is Kriesler's Schon Rosmarin.

The music accompanying Flowering At Barleycorn is Grieg's To The Spring, from his Lyric Pieces.


Michelle said...

That first photo is very watercolor-like; it should be hanging on your wall!

A wildlife gardener said...

* A warm welcome, Michelle, to our little corner of paradise in Springtime :)

Thank you...I am pleased with the way that photo turned out and remember the little bodies wiggling in the cells as I clicked :)

~Sheila~ said...

Unfortunately my computer is acting up and won't let me watch the videos.
The photos tell a story though. The lovely flowers make me wish I was a bee in your garden..!

A wildlife gardener said...

* Dear Sheila, you say the loveliest things to me... :)

I am the worker bee in the I'll give you a buzz :)

I hope you can pop over to see the tadpoles dancing, the daffodils nodding in the breeze and the doves cooing :)

Cheryl said...

Dear Wildlife Gardener.....spring has sprung. New life has come to your garden, to set up home with you for a little while.

The doves and mummy blackbird are just so beautiful. Birds are so very patient. We could learn a lot from them. I remember many years ago an elderly gent telling me that 'birds sing for the sheer joy of living' I am not sure that is true but I like to think so.

Tadpoles have not arrived in my pond yet. They came late last year due to very cold weather, it looks like the same thing is going to happen again.

Your cat is just so sweet. I felt I wanted to pick him up and sit with him for a while.

A delightful and charming post as always.......

Wanda said...

I thought the same thing...that first pic looks like a watercolor..

What a fabulous array of photos...

Jex said...

Amazing! This photography is so good... wow. I wish I had seen all this(especially the tadpoles,I love frogs) in person!:)

Hollie said...

Lovely...Spring has sprung and it is always a sweet relief!
Thank you for documenting it's beauty.

A wildlife gardener said...

* Great to see you again, dear Cheryl :)

The doves preened each other's feathers, which was sweet...but, I just missed capturing it :)

That female blackbird spent a whole day building her nest...while the male looked on! Even when she was bathing he just sat watching her! And when the nest was blown down...I could have wept...but, she just started all over again and now she has eggs :)

I hope you get taddies again...they are such fun :)

Taz is a darling...always following me around the garden :)

Thanks for all your encouragement :)

A wildlife gardener said...

* Lovely to have your company, dear Wanda :)

My photos should spur me back to my painting...soon... :)

Glad you enjoyed the post :)

A wildlife gardener said...

* A warm welocme to our little corner of paradise, Jex...lovely to meet you :)

It's amazing watching a sea of writhing tadpoles :)

A wildlife gardener said...

* Great to make your acquaintance, Hollie :)

I love Spring with all the freshness of feels so exuberant to be alive and party to it all :)

Thank you for your gracious words ... :)

candycane said...

i love visiting your site! it reminds me of when i was little and so much closer to nature - i have vivid memories of watching tadpoles! thank you so much for all this beauty.

angryparsnip said...

Great photos ! even if the Tadpoles are too weird for me... You are much braver than me !
But I love the birds and their nests.

I have several Quail families on my land that have hatched their eggs and darling tiny babies are running around.
One nest that is in my side yard and haven't hatched yet and until the babies are big enough. . . the house painters will have to wait.

cheers, parsnip

Duxbury Ramblers said...

Love the tadpoles so advanced our lot are just appearing, the female blackbirds are the most industrious nest builders, ours has ransacked every bit of nest material it could find, while the male looked on in awe.

Jeanne said...

Absolutely gorgeous my lovely friend
A pure slice of Heaven every photograph
and your friendship divine
I am so proud to call you a loving friend of mine
Love you

God bless you and yours real good
Love Jeanne♥

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Wildie, I adore the tadpole photos. I find the progression a frog goes through so fascinating--it doesn't even seem possible. Hope you are having a good spring.

the garden harlot said...

oh wow. we have tadpoles in a rectangle pond at my work, but i don't think i'd ever be lucky enough to get as pristine shots as those. their evolution in growing up is so interesting to see.

suminatus said...

Joli blog plein de sensibilité

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Window On The Prairie said...

Love the tadpoles. When I was a kid, I would collect the eggs and put them in a jar of pond water. Would watch them hatch, and watch them grow. When they were ready to leave the water, I would take them back to the pond. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

swallowtail said...

Oh my! This post, as usual, is just amazing. Yes, that first photo is spectacular. The colors and abstraction cause one to pause for a good while.

Yes, I have to come back, to enjoy it again and again!

Oh, and the "common frog" is becoming less and less common. Your corner of the world is a sanctuary for this species.

Green thumb said...

The photos and the videos give a fair idea of the amount of patience that would have been required to make this marvellous post.
Its your skill, dear W.G, that makes people appreciate beauty in creatures which are conventionally not perceived as pretty, like tadpoles. I got my lesson - a true lover of nature hsould find the tadpoles as beautiful as, say, butterflies:-)

bakingbarb said...

Love your spring! I haven't seen tadpoles like that since I was child.
It was a nice reminder.

joven said...

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Q said...

Thank you so very much for sharing your world. Spring is always a delight. It has been cool and wet in my gardens. It is lush and the birds are nesting. Spring is the season of hope.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

The ponds of Barleycorn are teeming with life. So lovely to see all the wildlife busy enjoying the warmer weather.

I have always been facinated by birds nests. It amazes me the intricacy of their design and the vast array of materials they find. I always leave out lint from the laundry out for them. I think the funniest thing I have seen birds nest made from is cat hair. There was no mistaking that orange hair from our ginger cat.

Anonymous said...

Oh happy spring.
i love those tadpoles too!

Sandy said...

What a work of art that first photo is!!! Love it.