Category Archives: Diary

Sun March 1st

The long-awaited day of lifting and lightening, as spring pushed winter away on a blustery west wind, the sky brightened, and the cloud layer lifted and broke.  Ragged sunshine all day, with a scatter of heavy showers, some with rainbows, even double rainbows.  9C max but with a distinct wind chill, and a big temperature dip during showers.  3mm in my rain gauge. 

National Rookery Lift-off Day, at last!  They kicked off big time, including my village rookery (one pair built 2/3rds of a nest in the oaks above the little green chapel today).  Visited a daughter in Moreton in Marsh, Cotswods. Mrs O drove, so I could look at the rooks.  We passed at least a dozen rookeries, all kicking off splendidly, even building late into the afternoon (usually they stop around lunchtime).  I also saw five hares in cereal fields, which is mega for Glos.  No fieldfares or redwings, I think they’ve gone again.

Mon February 24th

This washed-out February continues to soak its way to its soggy end.  Driving rain from 8am till 2pm, then intermittent (the sky was supposed to clear, but didn’t).  11mm.  Our lane floods again.  And another petty gale (Storm Nemo). 

The colours of the landscape: the browns of compacted unsown or crop failed arable fields, whitened by standing water; the washed out green of permanent pasture which has somehow managed to grow throughout the winter, without ever looking remotely verdant; the gradual purpling of thorn hedges, and the ambering of distant willow tops; and, rendered almost invisible by nebulosity, the wood-ash grey of dying ash trunks. 

Sat February 1st

Mad March wind, in the tree tops and all points below.  Blustery sunshine.  Ridiculously mild (13C) but with a wind chill off the W wind. 

Bookham Common, Leatherhead.  20 mins around 2pm. In which I called in at Mark Oak on route to giving a talk to the Friends of Box Hill, at Mickleham Village Hall, and realised I’d underestimated how much I love this place.  How warmly it welcomed me.  It wrapped its arms around me.  Leaving was difficult.  A carpet of celandine leaves.  Honeysuckle tangles greening well.  Mistle thrush and great tit in song.  Mud. 

I have been a diarist for decades. In Pursuit of Butterflies is the product of my butterfly & nature diaries. In recent years my diaries have broadened out well beyond butterflies, particularly to seasonality and place. My diary for 2019 was 92,000 words long. Postings here are snippets from my diary for 2020.