January/February/March 2013

January/February/March 2013
January/February/March 2013
January/February/March 2013

Persistent cold weather (3 inches of snow on 17th, and many flurries at other times), and several returns to UK to help family. In between, progress on the ceiling of the final kitchen, and levelling the floor, and tiling it. We contacted Gites de France in January and had a visit from Bernard, the local organizer, which resulted in a report and a listing as a “Gite de Groupes” with two “epis” (two star rating). Once we appeared on the web site, interest was immediate, with enquiries and bookings putting pressure on for a May start. Meanwhile we try to arrange refitting of the solar panels. As usual: 5 firms contacted, 2 replies, one arrives to look at the job, a price is suggested which later doubles for no reason. We reject the new price and are left at first base. Don’t they know there is a recession?
The usual winter birds, rock buntings around the feeders (5 on the 3 Jan) pheasant, partridge, raven, kestrel, chaffinch, stonechat, dartford warbler, dunnock etc. Fewer goldfinch flocks or greenfinches, maybe because of the cold. Highlights: alpine accentor in February, Booted eagle 3 Jan, Ringtail (Hen Harrier?) 4th Feb, a group of crag martens 7 march, Hoopoe 11 March, and on 8th March a juvenile golden eagle, with good views both above and below and tail markings. First signs of migratory movements, 70+ white storks on 14 Feb, and later in March, despite the continuing cold, a short toed eagle 16th March. Around the house there are increasing signs of beech martens who eat the remaining cat food and raid the bird feeders too.