The dog took us out for a walk this afternoon, out towards Leuven. The weather has been strange today, with angry skies and frequent hailstorms, but we walked mostly in sunshine. The days are lengthening and the bird life is increasingly visible. Today, in addition to the usual round up of sparrows, tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, wrens, blackbirds, fieldfares, woodpigeons and crows, we saw, in order of appearance, a green woodpecker, an early lapwing, a white heron (again – I suppose I shall soon have to admit that they are egrets), four buzzards gliding high on thermals, a flight of geese and a hen harrier, skittering past. Strangely, there was no sign of the usually ubiquitous pheasants, though they are clearly raised around here for hunting. On the other hand, we saw a big hare, lolloping over a ploughed field, no doubt preparing for March!