The last tulip photo for this year, this being probably the last tulip in flower. Before going away to South East Asia I bought soem bulbs but ran out of time to plant them, so Fred was left with the task of finding space for them and planting them. The daffodils and the crocuses were planted out in the bed in front of the house, whilst the parrot tulips were planted in a pot and left at the back of the house. The back of the house is very shady, being bordered on three sides by high walls and on the other by high trees (which are now in leaf). Starved of light, these tulips came out quite late, but quite spectacularly as well.
We also have other parrots in the garden, notably the very noisy parakeets which terrorise the smaller birds in our parks and gardens, as they do in many cities around Europe nowadays. Fortunately, we see them less now the weather is better, so the garden at the back is more home to the tits, blackbirds and wrens. I had to shoo-away a pair of aggressive jays yesterday, whereupon, one of the jays was mobbed by a blackbird who was protecting its fledgling.
I am not sure where the blackbirds nested this year, but their spot from last year was being looked at by a pair of wood pigeons earlier in the year. As much as we like birds and as handsome as wood pieons are, they are too close to being those filthy street pigeons and they tend to poo an awful lot, leaving a nasty mess which is difficult to clean. I stuck a long piece of wood up into the honeysuckle in an attempt to block them off and make sure they understand that they are not wanted and, sure enough, they cleared off. Funnily enough, our friends Rob and Ghislaine have just presented to the world their new babies - being a couple of baby pigeons just born on their balcony the other day - photo here. R and G are obviously kinder people than we are and, as long as those pigeons stay where they are, I wish them luck!
Further, overhead, the swifts are back, first seen in the park last week, now swooping over the house, in groups and pairs, screeching as they do. We would usually have to wait until the date of Beaconsfield fair, on 10th May, to see our first swifts, but now they arrive already before the end of April. I am not sure if they are leaving any earlier,as they are mostly gone by the end of August anyway.