It’s late spring here in east Northants. It’s over a month since I saw my first sand martins, chiffchaffs, blackcaps and willow warblers. I’ve seen, locally, a good list of spring-bringers – those mentioned already and garden warbler, sedge warbler, reed warbler, grasshopper warbler, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat, cuckoo, nightingale, yellow wagtail, swallow, house martin, common sandpiper, common tern and swift. And all of those within a few miles of where I live.
And what I haven’t seen, has been seen by others – we are just waiting now for spotted flycatchers. But spring happens in different places at different times. The few Arctic terns and bar-tailed godwits which are rushing through the Nene Valley on early mornings are still heading for their spring in the high Arctic. They’ll end up in places where the smell of hawthorn blossom has never been experienced. Perhaps they’ll see polar bears while they are sitting on their eggs.
And tomorrow I am off to find a new spring. I’ll be on a plane to Washington DC (thank you US forces for your timing on the Bin Laden thing). Later this week I hope to be seeing American wood warblers in Rock Creek Park with US birders. I’m told this is about the best week in the year to see them and so I am keeping my fingers crossed.
I’ve read about Rock Creek Park. The great Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher wrote of it in Wild America and Mike McCarthy wrote of it in the US edition of Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo. If I get there, and if the technology works, I’ll be writing about it too.