Crested tit sideways to camera sat on a branch in spring with sunlight on its breast
Focus On..,  Life,  Random Musings

Spring Is Here But It’s Not To Be Sneezed At

Meteorological spring has arrived. I love it when the 1st of March dawns. The winter months have often been accompanied by a dip in my own energy and mental health. But I seem to have got through with a stronger. more optimistic mindset this time. Touch wood.

That said, I have found myself writing a little less since the new year rang in. Not consciously. I just haven’t found the triggers which normally have me reaching for my laptop. Even despite tuning into the worlds news headlines more.

Is it just me or does it feel like our news is playing on repeat?

Even US politics seems to be taking a backseat. Mind you, that’s no bad thing. Apart from the odd Harry and Meghan interlude, or a reminder of the very sad passing of Caroline Flack, the news is pretty much consumed by storms and Coronavirus.

What’s in a name? A storm name.

I can’t open this look back without mentioning those storms. Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis brought rains and winds to the whole of the UK. I worked almost all my employed life, either directly or indirectly, for one or other of our water companies. I understand the factors which contribute to the movement of water. It’s also hard to completely protect against extreme weather incidents.

But. for sure, we can see these occasions are now becoming more and more frequent. We always used to analyse rainfall in terms of return periods. So a 1 in a 100 years event, for example. But when those events seem to be returning in shorter and shorter periods, you can’t help wondering if is it time to review those parameters.

On the subject of names, I guess I wasn’t alone in wondering if I had missed Ellen, Francis, Hugh et al when storm Jorge was predicted? How had five other storms passed me by? Perhaps they came and went in my sleep. No, all is well, I didn’t doze off. It seems Spain had already given Jorge his name, and as we were expected to be receiving a visit too, then he gets to keep it while he resides here. That said, the convention for storm naming is quite fascinating. Well, I think so anyway. I don’t suppose the first day of Spring will make any difference to the likelihood of more of those storms coming our way in the foreseeable future.

Viruses don’t respect passport controls

The other big news is around the latest Coronavirus of course. It was only just making its presence felt when I wrote my last news round up at the start of this month. Then I was making more tongue in cheek comparisons with the 1970s TV drama where entire countries were wiped out.

Now, as it continues to spread, we cannot ignore the ricochet effect. Whether it is the stock market, the tourist industry or the cancellation of large events, there is no doubt everyone is taking extra precautions – and it is going to hurt a lot of pockets even if the virus itself doesn’t reach us.

I would be lying if I said I was not a little concerned. With three return flights coming up before summer, one to the Asian continent itself, I am watching the WHO advice very closely. Add to that a couple of public gatherings – one a national Expo event which will attract visitors from all over the country and possibly Europe too – and I am a little twitchy. After all, viruses don’t respect superficial boundaries. That thought sparked a little piece of reflection all of its own – read more…

If the numbers increase sufficiently to result in restrictions to travel or events, then the knock-on effect in the Smith household is going to get very messy.

Still, twitching aside, we are keeping calm and following all the sensible hygiene advice.

Talking of twitching

Finishing off with something a little lighter, the promise of some snow this week gave us an opportunity to try and capture some photos of crested tits in the Cairngorms. This was a new subject for us. The location, too, was a lot more challenging than we have become more used to. No bird hide. Just us, our cameras, a monopod for stability and a lot of trees! They were not alone of course – the ‘cresties’ as they are affectionately known. The great tits were especially obliging. The coal tits meanwhile were more ‘I guess you won’t be interested in me’. The cresties were quick. Really quick! ‘Catch me if you can‘.

It was not easy. And I don’t love the cold – not even when it is a pretty winter wonderland. I think I am made for hot climate photography really. But I soldiered on and, all in all, I am rather pleased with the results. They are really active in Spring and we are incredibly lucky to have colonies almost on our doorstep. Good health to our cresties.

Our photography portfolio is growing quickly now. I really must crack on with the Smith Wild Photo website! You can keep up to date with progress on our Facebook page of course [winks].

And that brings me to the end of this months look at the news headlines. It’s the 1st of March already and I can already see the daffodils are poking their heads above ground. Shoots and buds are forming on the shrubs.

Meteorological spring has already arrived, despite snow being a prominent feature here in Glenlivet this past couple of weeks. But I can feel my own energy picking up already with the promise of longer days ahead.

I hope your March is filled with hope, good health and a spring in your step.

Marie T Smith – She Wordsmiths...

Marie also writes for Medium as @marietsmith