Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Cuckoo in residence

peach blossom
Yes this morning a cuckoo let us know that it's back! Clear calls of cuckoo, cuckoo serenaded us whilst we were drinking coffee. It also flew right over our heads just to make doubly sure we are aware it's back. No photo as it was flying straight into the sun and then settled in the pine trees in the SE corner for a bit. Not only did the cuckoo call, but we also heard it make a hoarse rasping gurgle as if it had run a marathon and was out of breath [not the female call; we checked].


Reine Claude [greengage] blossom
This was followed by a noise which sounded like the loud sursurration of its feathers. It then flew off to the little copse by the field to the east of us. During the day it flew repeatedly in a circle pattern round our house stopping every now and then to call; we are a captive audience in the center.

It is a lovely sound of spring but, if we're honest, we know that by the end we will have had enough of the cuckoo calls!


orange colour break cowslip

All of the more substantial branches cut from the hazel, forsythia and lilac have now been sawn to size for future use in the woodburner; but they'll need to season a bit first. We've left most of the hazel twiggy bits in situ;  choosing to scrunch them along the aged wire fence which straggles through the gaps in the hedgerow between us and our next-door neighbour Alexandra's orchard.

looking north over Eric's colza field




Meanwhile, all this unseasonal warmth has meant that our peach and greengage trees are now in flower and our doyenne de comice pear is budding nicely. The ornamental cherry will follow very shortly, but our young melrose apple and fruiting black cherry have a little while to go yet. We also found another colour break in our cowslips; an orange version. Looking over the valley towards the north Eric's field is now definitely showing the first yellow colza flowers.

14 comments:

Susan said...

Our pĂȘches de vignes, old nectarine and young apricot are flowering. The purple gage type plum will be next. It looks like the peaches have been very badly knocked by the cold.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Susan - same here. Not many flowers so we'll be lucky if we get a few fruits later on. Happy it made it though.

Tim said...

our brugnon (nectarine-ish) seems untouched by the winter and the buds are starting to swell. We grew it from a stone about 5 years ago and it had its first fruit last year!

Vera said...

Almost by the hour our young fruit trees are beginning to wake up. Fingers crossed that blossom time is managed with any frost!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Our fruit trees seem to be coming out unperturbed by the weather. I only mentioned this morning though that I have not heard a cuckoo yet. Diane

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Tim - nice to have a nectarine. Prefer them to peaches given the choice as they don't have the fuzzy skin; but the peach was here; so peaches it is.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Vera - let's hope so. Our fruit trees are only babies --but thriving so far; and barely had any blossom last year.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Diane - the ones we planted are fine, but previous owners planted the peche de vigne where it gets blasted by the NE or NW winter winds. Why they put it there is a mystery but it has seemed happy so far so we've not moved it.

The Broad said...

We found our French house at this time of year and the whole region was filled with blossom. We have never managed to get down to the Lot at this time of year since then but its always in the back of my mind what I am missing. Your description is lovely...

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Broad - two years ago this week saw us househunting and then putting in the offer on our longere. It was sunny then too, but much colder!

the fly in the web said...

I thought I might miss the European seasons...your photographs brought it all back....but I find the seasons here have their own progression - not just sunny or rainy!

Over the last few years in France I missed the buzz of insects in the flowering fruit trees....they just seemed to have been wiped out.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Fly - you get the best of both: sub-tropical/tropical to live in and nice pics of the seasons over here without the grey skies, cold winds and the chilly nasty slanting rain that interrupts the blue shies and sun :-)

Our flowers are all a-buzz; both bees and bumbles thankfully

Perpetua said...

We've only once seen our fruit trees in France in their full glory of blossom, but both in Wales and Scotland we have a few fruit trees which are just starting to open their flower buds. However, on our way north through southern Scotland last Friday we saw a field of rape in full bloom already. So early!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - that is early for Scotland. And now snow!! Hope it hasn't caused you too much upset.