Column: The first bluebells are out in bloom

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This week has seen a few lovely Spring-like days, although the presence of grass frost in the mornings reminds us that it’s maybe not time to put the gloves and scarf away just yet.

I finally got started in the garden and getting down at weed-level noticed that the bluebells were almost ready to come out.

In some sheltered gardens they are out already.

When we moved into our current house there were lots of bluebells in the front garden, but I realised that they were not true English bluebells but the Spanish bluebell, which was introduced by the Victorians as a garden plant which then began to cross breed with the native plants.

Over the years I have started to dig out the Spanish bluebells (which are less delicate, more upright and a paler blue than the native bluebell).

I am replacing them with the native one, which I prefer.

Just as I have been busy in the garden, so too have the birds.

Blue tits have been lifting beakfuls of moss from the corrugated garage roof to take off to their nest somewhere and ungainly starlings have been gathering small sticks from the lawn.

In a nearby street a pair of magpies are nesting high up in a tree and they can be seen flying up with sticks.

I also, finally, saw the first butterfly of the year.

My approaching steps frightened it away from its sunny spot on the patio and it was over the hedge before I could make a positive identification; I’m guessing small tortoiseshell.

I disturbed another creature in Pollok park, but I just managed to see that it was a Blackcap before it disappeared into the trees.

Blackcaps are chaffinch-sized birds with, of course, a black mark on their heads.

Although some black caps are now spending the whole year in the UK, in the west of Scotland they are mostly a summer visitor.

They are always good to see, if only fleetingly.