Tuesday 20 March 2012: Spring Equinox
This morning, at 5.14am GMT, the Earth drifted through a major astronomical checkpoint, marking the official onset of spring in the northern hemisphere. The spring, or vernal, equinox marks the point in space and time when the sun moves across the celestial equator, an imaginary circle projected into the sky above the real equator.
Certainly today felt truly spring-like. After a chilly start the weather soon warmed up nicely, with lots of sunshine. I walked the dogs early, and was fortunate to see a pair of distant kingfishers, too far away to photograph, though I did try!! An elderly gentleman came over to see what I was doing, and was delighted when I pointed out the remaining kingfisher to him and his wife, perched amongst a tangle of willow branches. He'd only ever seen one in the wild before, when he was a small boy, and his wife had never seen one.
I walked out along the meadows and back through Bluebell Wood, where the first bluebells were indeed out, and in places the edge of the path was studded with sweet violets. As I returned to the car, a south-facing bank was spangled with the cheerful gold flowers of lesser celandine and I spotted this small tortoiseshell butterfly nectaring on the sallow blossom. I took quite a few shots, but it was very difficult to get it in focus thanks to a playful breeze. If you look in large you can see the tongue buried deep in the blossom.
After a short time on the computer I spent much of the rest of the day in the garden, where I spotted two more species of butterfly, a peacock and a comma, as well as several species of bee. I finished cleaning and tidying the greenhouse and edged part of one of the lawns, accompanied by the gentle sound of the singing frogs, which was my other blip contender for today . Ben came out and helped me, doing a stalwart job of edging the other side and cutting back the buddleia.
In a moment of madness I sent off for some asparagus crowns, so tomorrow we shall need to start digging over the new asparagus bed. We always had it in the garden when I was a child, and there's nothing quite like the taste of freshly cut asparagus spears in May - even if I shall have to wait for over a year before I can start to pick it!!