Aquaphiles

There are enough truisms about ducks and water, but the thing is they are all true.

Our Cayugas can’t get enough of it. When their pond was given a refill these two were at their ablutions as soon as there was an inch of water

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personal boundaries breaking down amid the enthusiasm

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The after-bath flap

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A bit more water in and the hidden occupants can throw up some spray

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Some of our animals live in blissful ignorance of a water-free world. This is Ken (the Loach)

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and new arrival Rob the Bob replacement

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Outside water comes…

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…and goes sufficiently to allow our bees a little foray

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Reading the Signs

Our bees are out and about, visiting the heather
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Frogspawn is appearing, sometimes in appropriate places
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Other pond life is stirring
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Nestboxes are at the ready
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Daffodils are poised to usurp crocusus
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Tomatoes are germinating
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And Floppy is crowing
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to distract us
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from his moulting bottom
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An encore was not needed

By yesterday the last lot of snow drifts had shrunk to a few skulking heaps in out of the way places.

So we were not impressed by our waking sight today
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with a reprise of the Easterly wind blasting the fine snow into heaps and piles
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sticking to windows
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and lodging on ledges
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Recent attempts at Spring sprouting were smothered
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The Cayugas seemed impervious
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but the Meadow Ducks, unsheltered from the full blast, came to spend the day in the greenhouse
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the birds turned their backs to the wind
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and again there were queues for the feeders
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a good chance to see the Redpolls
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Fortunately we have invested in some expensive, spring loaded, expert-designed squirrel-proof feeders
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The Blackbirds stick to the ground
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and are joined by the first new addition to our species list in over a year – a blown in Reed Bunting
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Only the Robin seems at ease
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Things are buzzing

The long lost sun makes a visit and encourages the bees on their first proper outing

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The scouts find the treasure

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and soon things are a buzzing

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Booty is brought home

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Nearby other insect life begins to stir

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A few days ago the robin was preoccupied with finding food and surviving the frozen nights

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Today his efforts are concentrated on fiercely defending his territory

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from the other-side-of-the-shed robin

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A few days ago the Meadow Ducks were seeking refuge with the hens

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Today they decide it is time for a thorough spring clean of the plumage

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including the hard-to-reach spots

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Retreat

The snow is shrinking back, retreating to the edges
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The sheep move in on the exposed green
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As green vanquishes white the patterns on the opposite hill swirl
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Bees are seen flying (not in this picture)
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and up above the conflict is reflected as rainbows attempt to stake their claim
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Snow on the ground documents who has passed
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Some places hold on – once water is ice it takes a lot or persuading to return to liquid
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and where snow has amassed, blockading the way, it will not easily be moved
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Come on spring
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Let Spring Commence

We have dug our way out of a late winter
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Things are dripping
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Mist is clearing
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Catkins are shaking off the ice crystals
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The Cayugas share a celebratory bath
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and shake off their ice crystals
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Bert has found his legs
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(and discovered they are orange)

And the motley ducks complete a transhumance
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Back to the meadow where Cagney regains her stump
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Ice-Nine?

In the last few days we have felt a bit like we are battling Vonnegut’s Ice-Nine with liquid water becoming a rare and preciously guarded commodity.

How can the stuff become so solid that it makes an impenetrable barrier

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and today the air is composed of droplets which crystallise all they touch

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Over the last two days the dry fine particles have been driven by the blasting Easterly through every crack and crevice, invading out buildings

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They also smooth contours and fill in crannys – the vital feeding habitat of the Treecreeper. He is driven to disdainfully visiting the ground feeder

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Now the wind has abated the previously evacuated meadow hens have returned home where they celebrate with a corn circle

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