24 March 2013

Spring rolls into... Winter!

Spring arrives and the weather just gets worse! The return of snow was not what I had in mind for mid-March but that's what we got and that's what we had to make the most of! 

But before we get to the snow I'll step back a couple of weeks first. My cycle ride home from work on Monday March 11 took me all the way down the River Derwent cycle path from Derby to Borrowash, not a journey I do too often on my commute. And I'm rather pleased that I did - I was lucky enough to be able to watch a Barn Owl hunting near the river, just as the sun was setting! It wasn't the closest view I've ever had of a Barn Owl but any view is always a privilege. I repeated the same route on the following two evenings and on both occasions was treated to the joys of the owl. All good stuff!

Tuesday March 19 and, for me, the first real sign that Spring is here. On the ride to work I heard a Chiffchaff singing along the cycle path by the River Derwent, my first of the year. Interestingly, this is the exact same date and almost the same location as the first Chiffchaff I came across last year. A returning bird maybe? On March 22 2012 I saw my first Sand Martins of the year - I wonder if they will be waiting for me tomorrow morning? With this weather, I very much doubt it!

On Thursday, March 21, I reached the first cycling milestone of the year when the ride home from work took my mileage for the year past the 1,000 mile mark. I may not have set myself any cycling targets this year but getting the first 1k under my belt did feel rather good, especially with the weather we've had so far this year. 

So, back to the snow. The forecast on Wednesday evening of this week was for snow to hit the region late on Thursday evening and that's just what it did. By the time I set off for work on Friday morning the roads were covered with wet, slushy, snow and the cycle paths weren't much better. Using the mountain bike meant I had no problem with grip but the lack of full mudguards resulted in a rather wet ride! Further snow and also a bit of a thaw later in the day saw me arrive home in the evening soaked to the skin and with a bike that looked like it had been to hell and back. Some serious cleaning was needed - both for the bike and myself!

As if to rub salt into the wound, the Derby Telegraph printed another of my photos in that very day's edition... a photo that showed just what Spring should be like! It was taken on March 5 and shows Crocuses flowering in Alvaston Park.

Crocuses in Alvaston Park - 05 March 2013.

And that, dear reader, brings us back to this weekend... and yet more snow! Luckily, I wasn't at work yesterday so I was able to stay in the warmth of the house and watch the snow continue to fall, all day. The only time I ventured outside was to top up the bird feeders, which took quite a hammering yesterday. The birds were certainly very hungry.

Woodpigeon waiting for yet more food.

Goldfinches in the snow.

This morning the snow had eased a little and so we decided to get out for a little fresh air, and breakfast! The result was a walk of just over 5miles taking in part of Alvaston, the Blue Jay pub for breakfast, the River Derwent and then back to home. Although the snow had more or less stopped for much of the walk the sky remained very grey and dull, not ideal conditions for the camera but I did at least try. Some of the results are below...

Next weekend we change the clocks, it's Easter and we'll probably be flooded! It can only get better, can't it?

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