It has been such beautiful weather here over the last week or so, and I have found it so helpful for my mood and general outlook. it has made the fields and footpaths around here very busy so I have to pick my moment to walk the dog; I have hens so am up with the lark anyway it’s not a hardship to venture out and it is a glorious time of day.

Taking binoculars really helps me slow down and focus on my surroundings, and although I can usually tell what birds are where, it’s lovely to have a proper, close up look of them. I have been hearing great tits with their ‘tea-cher tea-cher’ followed by a buzzy alarm call when they notice me standing there watching them.

The willows are finally showing their silvery-white buds which is a great sign of spring for me, as the pollen and nectar from these charming little flowers are a vital source of food for early pollinators – including my honey bees. I am so looking forward to the yellow coats but for now, I can appreciate the furry and aptly-named pussy willow catkins.

I’ve used a mixture of what-I-had-on-the-palette for the twig and silver for the buds, with some white and creamy-green highlights. Burnt umber matched the matte buds perfectly.

I am in the process of doing a page in my Bird Journal, or is it a Nature Diary?? I don’t know – it’s a nice way to record the seasons, and I’ve started following Shilpa Agashe on Instagram who is doing the same in Hampstead, London.

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