While the rest of the country snuggles down under a blanket of snow, up here in the frozen north, not only do we have no snow but we have a great many signs that spring is just around the corner. There has been snow for the last few weeks, visible on the tops of the various mountains on both sides of the Solway Firth – when there are any mountains to break the monotony of the grey wall that passes for the horizon these days.
Out on our rounds though, things are starting to change. Things that have been around for a while, but which we have considered too insignificant to be bothered climbing through the thick, slushy under-felt of rotting leaves to be able to frame a photograph of. Now, suddenly, there they are, dominating the landscape of leafless sticks that we’ve become inured to.
But what are they? Well, the most popular guess is, that at this time of year they will likely be Hazel. They could be any of the trees and shrubs that produce catkins but they are not Pussy Willow – Google and I seem to remember from last year that the Pussy Willow was the first of the willows to show life.
In a couple of months there will be leaves and, hopefully, we will be better able to offer a more definite identification.