People have been saying it’s spring for some weeks now, but, asyouknow from these posts, it hasn’t arrived up here yet.
But, on 2 April, I was sitting with Ruby on my fallen log in the woodas when I became aware of a chattering sound all around me. What was it?
Then I heard the distinctive grating sound, the rasp in the chatter, and I realised that I was surrounded by a party of swallows. They wouldn’t be staying in the wood, for swallows are not birds of the wood, and, indeed, they soon moved on, leaving me in a mild state of bliss.
One swallow doesn’t make a summer, of course, but a small group of them can make a spring.
The bird observatories at Flamborough Head and Spurn Point, on the east coast of Yorkshire, are recording large numbers of swallows arriving from the continent, so the birds are definitely arriving, after their long migration from southern Africa. It is a bit early for them. They have been getting earlier each year for the past decade. It is a result of global warning.
And then yesterday I heard the first chiffchaff of the year. The chiffchaff is a warbler that can’t warble! It just goes “Chiffchaff, chiffchaff, chiffchaff.” It’s a bit reperirive, but it’s exactly what the lady chiffchaff wants to hear. They, too, have come from Africa, and I am glad he is here.
For me, the birds make it official. Spring is here for certain.
My blog will go silent now for a week, because now is the time for my yearly retreat to meditate, eat healthily, get up early, and throw away the stress and twitter of the modern world. No phones, no computers, no tv, no radio. Just peace, and the space to realise how happy I am and how lucky.
See you on the other side!