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The month began with showers of snow, that quickly turned to rain. High winds

and persistent heavy rain have swept through Liddesdale over the last couple

of weeks, making me wonder how on earth the yellow heads on my daffodils are

still intact?

Crocuses, primrose , daffodils and flowering heathers are trying their

best, in swathes of yellows, purples and pinks. The bluebell shoots are up

so they will soon be carpeting the woodland grounds. When the high winds were blowing an absolute hoolie outside, it really

made me appreciate being warm and safe indoors with my family, hoping

no trees would be uprooted in the winds, or slates fly off our roof. It was amazing to watch tiny wild garden birds fight the elements to survive,

and to feed and protect their nesting sites. They had to really battle against

the horizontal rain and winds. We watched oyster catchers on the river Liddle, spooked by the rising waters,

they flew up into the sky, circulating their territories, creating a noisy

response to the weather.

On one of the stormiest days, a wee red squirrel was scampering about

in our garden, bushy tail and tufted ears being wheaked about in the wind,

but he continued with his search for food and chased the garden birds away

to check out the feeders.

I began to grow concerned about the barn and tawny owls after hearing

no sounds from them for four nights in a row. However I hoped they'd

all be back out hunting as soon as the winds and rain settled, listening

for squeaks in the tufted grasses to give away the whereabouts of their

prey. Sure enough, the following evening I heard the familiar screeching of the

barn owls in the fields, and the hooting from the tawny owl in the woods

behind us. I much prefer the sounds of the owls at night to the noise of

howling gales rattling our windows. As I walk along the old railway line, deep puddles are croaking full of

frogs and frog spawn, and it's good to see nature is carrying on

whatever the weather.

On one particularly wet afternoon The Newcastleton Wildlife Watch Group

braved the elements to carry out their annual Litter Pick. They all arrived

suited and booted ready to tackle not just the weather but the rubbish

people seem incapable of taking home to their own bins. For the whole session the weather was nothing but awful. We were all wearing

our hi-vis vests and with adult leaders controlling the traffic, the group

started at their usual meeting point, heading south to the village, walking on

the right hand side of the road.

As we went along I kept rotating who was at the front, as it almost became a competition to see who could collect the most.

When we reached the Newcastleton sign, we crossed the road and walked

the half mile back, this time clearing the other side of the road. Drivers in

cars and vans waved and tooted their horns as they passed us and one family

even slowed right down to thank each and every member of the group. We

all felt so appreciated.

The youngsters especially loved the wagon drivers who were brilliant

honking their horns as they past.

The group was so enthusiastic and determined to get the job done, and definitely deserved the hot chocolate we had at the end! I'm so very proud of them all. Things to do in March

● look for frog spawn

● daffodils around the village

● bluebell shoots

● wild primrose

And I have some very exciting news of my own - following the wonderful

success of my first book A DAY WITH ROAN SQUIRREL, look out for my

brand new book - A DAY WITH AMBER RABBIT coming very soon . . . . .

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