It is our Writers Group in the morning. I thought I would post the piece I have written for tomorrow, to see what you think of it:
An owl came to our bird table last night. Just as dusk was falling he landed on a post, stretched, shook himself and settled down to watch. His colour and his shape in the half-light told us he was a tawny. An owl, a secret bird of the night.
Little threat to the gamekeeper, on the watch for small mammals and, in season, small birds, he goes about his business largely unthreatened. He is more likely to die of starvation in a snowy Winter than persecution, unlike his cousins the buzzards and the sparrow-hawks, who flaunt their intentions in broad daylight.
We know where he nests in a hole in the old ash tree. Sometimes he sits by the entrance and just watches. But his keen eye, keener than we can ever imagine, can pick up the movement in the grass which will provide a tasty snack for him or his mate.
In the fields celandine are in full bloom. Every bank facing South has a hundred bright suns. We hate them when they are in our gardens, but in the fields they bring such joy.
Echoing that brightness is the marsh marigold, the kingcup or water-blob of our childhood; so common then but rarer now in its wild form. Yet it thrives along our beck for weeks until finally it gives way to the paler water iris, in past times a good indication that you were nearing a ford, where footsteps had broken off pieces of iris root which had floated downstream and rooted along the bank.
In the hedgerow the yellowhammer has started to sing - a little bit o' bread and no cheese - a cheerful song. And yesterday he came to the bird table for seed, easily identified by his bright yellow head. It seems as though yellow is the colour of the month so far.
On the farm, the land is far too wet to get on with the really important jobs of fertilising, harrowing, rolling, getting the pastures ready for the cows to go out and the meadows ready for silaging. Instead the farmer is busy collecting all the sticks and branches brought down by the Winter's gales, tidying up the fields, repairing fences and, best of all, having huge bonfires. This love of bonfires goes back through the ages and I for one never tire of standing by the fire with my pitchfork and poking back bits of escaping wood.