Showing posts from 2021

Sounds of spring

Male Barn Swallow (Martin Kelsey)  The invitation comes from just outside the bedroom window. It is joyful and instantly uplifting. Sliding and rising, rhythmic and textured like honey, the song of a Barn Swallow is like a conversation with a friendly neighbour, ending with a teasing mechanical twizzle.  The sound opens a box of memories, of childhood holidays on farms, brought back to me this morning after more than half a century. One swallow does not make a summer, or so the saying goes, but for me there is no surer sign of spring.  The swallows have been around since late January, but a pair have been checking out my toolshed for a couple of days now and today sang for the first time from the old satellite dish just below the window. Their favourite perch. It marks the change, because spring reaches us in mid-February.  This has been a challenging transition for me. Still under a municipal lockdown thanks to persistence in COVID infection rates locally, I have been missing the cues

Counting time

Common Cranes (Martin Kelsey) Returning to Extremadura after caring for my mother during her final weeks is like turning a page and starting a new chapter. With the passing of one's parents, life is never again the same. A reminder of mortality, but also the urge to commit to never taking things for granted, to appreciate what we have around us. Let nature flow! January here is counting time. Counting birds that is, and most of my time in the last few days has been about doing that. So here is my counting tale, which ends with an owl and a duck! On my return, what better than to take the walk from home, taking in the hill behind the house in circular route along a lane, amongst old olive groves, pasture and patches of evergreen oak dehesa ? This is a favourite of mine and one which I use to contribute every winter to the bird population monitoring work of SEO/BirdLife. During two hours I record every individual bird. I have done so twice for each of the last eleven winters. Overall