Coiled spring

Bank Holiday Monday proved to be a taster of spring – it feels as though spring is coiled and waiting to be released.

I started with a walk at the local former airdrome on the Northants/Beds border. Eight of the nine wind turbines were spinning round even though there was little wind at ground level. Several fields were now filled with solar panels but there were still masses of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits singing in a spring-like way. A small flock of Fieldfares were hanging on to winter.  A Chiffchaff sang from the wood where the car was parked.

Later in the morning I was at the local Wildlife Trust reserve at Twywell. It seemed as though it were mostly a dog-walking reserve. A smart male Yellowhammer sang and the occasional Brimstone butterfly flew past in a buttery way.  Chiffchaffs sang.

At Fermyn Woods the playground was full of kids.  The once visitor centre is now the Skylark cafe and it is now difficult to find out whether there have been any interesting nature sightings. Women with large shiny handbags and shiny boots rather than welly boots were stalking around. But 100m up the path, where few ventured, 80 toads were having sex in a pond, and calling, and wandering, coupled, over the path. A bee-fly flew by. Some Chiffchaffs sang.

At Old Sulehay the sun went behind the clouds. I saw the usual Marsh Tit for this site – now an unusual sight locally. The Wood Anemones, Celandines and Primroses were gorgeous. There were a few early Bluebells and Dog’s Mercury beginning to flower and we ate Ransoms leaves. Several Chiffchaffs sang.

I must have heard about 40 singing Chiffchaffs in the day, but not a single Willow Warbler, despite being in places where Willow Warblers occur. Local birders and Birdtrack confirm it’s not just me. these years, I’ve normally heard my first Willow Warbler by now.  Maybe Henry and i will have heard one as we have travelled the country today?

Spring is coiled – waiting to be released by warmer weather and more sunshine. The Willow Warblers are massing on our borders – that first cascading song cannot be far away.

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8 Replies to “Coiled spring”

  1. Monday was the first day for months with any Sun. And a let-up from the arctic north-easterly blowing off the Tidworth tundra. Violets, long-noses, a bumble, Brimstones and a Peacock on me pulmonarias. Scraped up all the molehills and seived the three barrow-loads of soil before scattering it back over the "lawn" and treading it all flat. Four new ones appeared today - it's like ironing seersucker.

  2. You should have come just a little further north, Mark. The first Willow Warbler was singing here in Fineshade Wood this morning.

  3. I had a Willow Warbler at Westhay on the Levels on Thursday 2nd - and a Swallow, too.

  4. Talking of kids playgrounds and designer handbags in the posh cafe, have you noticed the difference of greetings when walking reserve paths. One always used to say hello, good morning, or some such with a smile - and binoculars used to mean checking what was about, but more and more people look at you as if you are from planet Zog if you so much as smile as you pass!
    Is society so selfish that even a common decency like that is now old fashioned?

    1. Come to North Staffordshire - in rural areas most of us still say "hello" to those we do, and those we don't, know.


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