Murmurings of spring
Although spring is not really deemed to have started until mid-February around here, there are the first clear signs of its forthcoming arrival. I did see some House Martins and Barn Swallows at the turn of the year, feeding alongside Crag Martins at the reservoir of Arrocampo, but these may have been overwintering individuals. But the Swallows that I have seen over the last few days, both over the garden as well as in nearby Trujillo are much more likely to be new arrivals. Our guests saw a Great Spotted Cuckoo yesterday, which is always one of the first species to return from Africa. In sheltered, sunny spots the first wild narcissus should be in flower and so should the almond trees (although the ones in our garden are always a little late). What clinched it for me happened last night. Patrick and I were looking at Mars through the telescope: very bright in the eastern sky. Whilst outside in the dark, we could hear the Nightjar-like churring of Natterjack Toads..how the evenings change from the relative silence of mid-winter to the chorus of courting in the spring is such a landmark.