Monday 24 February 2020

One Year Ago

'This early spring / warm spring / warm spell has been a joy. For several days now, the early afternoon sun has warmed things up to such an extent that I've even been reduced to shirtsleeves. And it has brought the early butterflies out: in the three days around mid-month I saw a Red Admiral, a first Brimstone, a Peacock and a Tortoiseshell, all without straying from my usual haunts. There have been many Brimstones since – and today, walking on Ashtead common, I happened on a Comma, basking in the unseasonal sunshine. That's five species – and it's still February! '

That's me, writing on this blog, on this date last year. It makes poignant reading now, as we near the end of this relentlessly soggy February, with the rain still falling, the muddy ground saturated, low-lying fields more water than land, and the cold winds still blowing.
'The fold stands empty in the drown
รจd field,
And crows are fattened with the murrain flock.
The nine-men's-morris is fill'd up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
For lack of tread are undistinguishable...'

On the other hand, I did see two butterflies – both Peacocks – very early this year, on the 5th and 6th of February, when the sun briefly shone, belying what was to come. It had better be a good March after all this...

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