Spring on hold

Enjoyable though it was, that late March heatwave was always likely to give way to something a little less benign. April reverted to type around these parts – listening to drought warnings from the implausibly glib executives of privatised water companies while watching the rain lash against the windows for days on end. “When water falls as heavy rain that doesn’t necessarily help the situation” Oh yes, one of the shameless buggers actually said that.

Anyway, I digress. Winter decided to fire at least one parting shot, and today’s wind carried a bite which wouldn’t have disgraced February. Coupled with frequent spells of heavy rain this caused us to set off already contemplating how far we’d be likely to get before turning back; not an ideal frame of mind with which to begin a walk.

The overriding impression today was of a stunted spring; as if a process had somehow begun and then gone into abeyance. Bluebells appeared to have half emerged, hesitated and lost confidence; the trees are not quite as you would expect them to be by mid-April. The birds, in all their many varieties, seemed as indefatigable as ever though; body clocks probably demanding that they simply get on with it.

We met a couple of birders out looking for a Ring Ouzel which they’d been tipped off was in the locality. Despite harbouring serious doubts I scanned around with the binoculars while they were setting up their scopes and tripods and there, perched in the still bare branches of a small tree, sat the very Ring Ouzel which had drawn them to this spot. Unless of course it was the other one, sat in an adjacent tree; for there was indeed a pair.

I’d only ever seen one Ring Ouzel before: it was perched on a cliff near Llyn Brianne and that one I would neither have spotted or been able to identify had it not been pointed out to me. My wife had never seen one at all. And today there they were – a pair no more than 5 miles from our front door.

Life is full of surprises


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