Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Tentative stirrings of Spring – a little bird told me!
What a morning! Out with the dog at 7 a.m., it was four below zero, with a hard frost lying heavy on the ground. A crystal clear sky with the remaining half of a huge moon low on the horizon, and Venus shining brightly quite high in the north-west. It was barely light, despite the lack of clouds, and there was a magnificent dawn sky pending. Heading into the park that surrounds the golf course in Stirling, our usual morning haunt, the first thing I noticed was the birdsong. This is the first time this winter that I have noticed such an array of dawn song from the local birds. In particular, the blackbirds seemed aglow with the potential for Spring (“Hello ladies! Look at me…”), with lots of robins (liquid trills) and great tits (swinging on squeaky fences) active too. Spring might actually be coming – you heard it here first (“I saw some grass growing through the pavement today…”) – and I saw some snowdrops in flower on Stirling University campus at the weekend – there you go – it's official!
All the major mountains visible from the golf course (the four 3000 feet+ Munros – Ben Lomond in the west, Stuc A’Chroin and Ben Vorlich to the northwest, and Ben Chonzie more or less due North, plus Ben Ledi, not so high but no less worthy) looked truly breathtaking this morning and more like Alpine peaks, all having received a recent re-dusting of their winter-long snow cover. The early hour of my walk meant that I missed seeing the first rays of the dawn sun turn them into golden, shining beacons, which I have seen before many times, a phenomenon that only lasts a few minutes but to which it is almost impossible to do justice in a photograph (with my photographic failings anyway). Something that’s better just to enjoy and revel in while it is happening. Live for the moment!