Admittedly it was just the one. Walking along the promenade beside the brightly painted beach huts, we looked upwards and saw him flying towards the shore. No familiar clicking or twittering yet, but I swear that particular swallow looked relieved to reach the land at last.
The willow warbler’s song is a favourite. It’s the last notes trailing away at the end that I love the most, but (more often than not) a chaffinch will chime in loudly and enthusiastically, which would be welcome any other time.
April showers and sun have made primrose, yellow aconited paths. You can spy a bee on a bluebell, then (through gaps in the beech trees) see the Spinnaker Tower on the distant mainland hovering above nearby fields of bright green velvet , all accompanied by the crystal clear notes of the thrush and the lilting skylark’s song.
At last, I’ve found a wild apple tree, blossom-laden, in an unprepossessing place and some perfect white violets too. Will this make up for failing to locate any wood anemones round here, or missing the sight of a hare in March? A little, but not quite enough.
Swans are absolutely beautiful (especially when angry) and sometimes a little comical too. Such power in those wings as they fly passed, necks outstretched, but their manner of taking off (those large black webbed feet running over the water) cannot help but raise a smile.
Pairs of ducks and the ensuing ducklings are adorable and sweet, but the mating process is just too brutal. Give me jackdaws any day with their snuggling up on ramshackle roofs and balconies of ‘Members only’ yacht clubs; or perched on telegraph wires sharing a piece of bread and eating it in unconscious synchronicity.
Golden, blue-skied days have all their obvious charms. But quiet grey days, when a poised heron blends equally into the sea or the sky, beguile even more. They are the perfect foil to the soft and bright greens of willow and chestnut buds that border the beach, with its soft lapping waves carrying the gentle hum of distant ships.
It’s fairly enervating sitting on the top deck of the bus (right at the very front) as it swings round narrow lanes and bumps along pot-holed roads. More bucking bronco than modern horsepower, but with a gallery view of gardens bursting into flower and old walled churchyards overflowing with primroses.
It’s refreshing and necessary to discover new horizons; there’s nothing like that first sight. But with familiar places, you know exactly when and where to go to find delicate wood anemones or a surprisingly beautiful hare.
A strange place indeed where vanguard trees desperately hold the rest of the woodland back from running down the beach, and pairs of mallards court in rock pools. But a salty woodland that nonetheless echoes with fierce wrens and newly arrived chiffchaffs.