The 1st of February is Lá Fhéile Bríde (St. Brigid’s Day) and traditionally welcomes Spring.
This year the ‘Winter’ was so mild that the usual flocks of Greylag Geese and Whooper Swans only made brief appearances in the fields around us. ‘Spring’ seems to be wet, cold and windy in comparison! Storms Doris and Ewan were not appreciated, ripping rooves, felling trees, disrupting Electricity service and ruining golf scores.
The birds and animals have been ‘twichy’ – a bit like the bird watchers – for some time but many people associate the onset of Spring more with March or April and around here the worst weather of the year offen hits us in February or even March.
Anyway the weather generally does seem to have been milder in recent years, no doubt a product of the climate change that politicians and many businesses around the world refuse to tackle. It is easy to be pessimistic about the future when you couple this with radicals being elected to parliaments and higher stations around the world (trying to be polite as this includes murderers and nut cases) and the increasing violence and war threat.
Keeping the happy face on, the usual early flowers have risen – Crocuses, Snowdrops, Helibores etc. – and Daffodills are starting here although much more developed in the capital. Garden flowers such as Viburnum Bodnantense, flowered over winter as usual, improving the fragrance of the neighbourhood.
On another note completely, Sika Deer seem to be thriving in Ireland. Deer generally are too numerous and suffer official culls but Sika seem to appear much more commonly recently.
What is really required is a reintroduction of Wolves – the 4 legged kind, we have plenty of the others. Reading a great book, Feral, by George Monbiot, I was delighted to see the case for apex predators was well made. It always seemed to me that the ‘wild’ here was badly skewed and marginalised. Monbiot argues convincingly that a bottom up approach to diversity and conservation is much less successful than a top down, apex predator approach along with relieving our mountains from the catastrophies of sheep farming.
Here’s to better action from our politicians on the environment (and hopefully, more immediately, improving weather and some sun !)