Today the sun is shining; its warmth and brightness remind me that spring will arrive in six weeks time! I sometimes forget how good the sun makes us feel after a week or more of thick dark clouds and many different kinds of rain. I have no idea how people living in or close to the arctic circle manage to stay sane when their sun disappears below the horizon for the winter: three months without daylight is not natural for most people. I suppose there is some compensation in that the sun will not be dipping below the horizon for their whole summer. If a person has lived with these extremes all their life, it’s unlikely to be at all unusual to them. I’m sure I would find living in such conditions difficult.
Wilden Marsh sometimes feels subdued and depressed to me on overcast winter days, and more so when a few dark drizzly days run into each other. Don’t get me wrong; I’m on the marsh most days and rain doesn’t prevent me from enjoying the day, but a sunny day has much more of a punch to it. The animal love being out on sunny days, too. The birds sing their best and loudest songs and, with a little imagination, the cattle seem to smile and their moos and bellows suggest a camaraderie that just isn’t there on cold, wet days. The herons at the heronry make excessive noise when the sun is out and, for such large and delicate birds, they perform surprisingly complex, celebratory acrobatics in the sky above their nests. However, this only seems to happen on the first sunny day following a series of long dreary days; the novelty soon wears off I suppose. It’s a pleasure and privilege for me to share these happy days with Wilden Marsh and its animals.
What has happened to the buzzards? I’ve not seen a single buzzard all day; the weather is perfect for them to glide and climb high on the marsh thermals. Half a dozen cormorant perched along a power line peel off, one by one, as I draw near.
The herd has removed all visible green from the Tenant Farmer’s Field: looking across the field I see only an even straw colour. The South Riverside Pasture, on the other hand, is bright green with new grass, and it has grown well enough over the last week to make it worthwhile grazing. I want the cattle full of green grass for as long as possible, before they are forced to eat hay. So intent were they on getting the new grass into their stomachs today, I don’t think they noticed me leaving.
South Pool water level is dropping nicely and the ground underfoot is firming up, which will help the cattle when grazing the Orchid Field.