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The Cuckoo is slightly early this year; announcing his presence with a circuit of the village at 5.15 this morning. In the clear, slightly chilly morning air his call was clear and close – the closer they are, the more the syllables separate. His aerial tour continued to the river, calling all the way.

Brampton Spring: mimic

April 17, 2016

For some days now we have been scanning the skies for the early morning Buzzard whose call drifts across the village. The strange thing being that Buzzards are not normally early risers. The tend to wait for the warmer air which makes their thermal-borne soaring survey so much easier. This one seemed to be an early bird. Then it became clear. The Buzzard in the copse, in which the trees look too spindly to support a bird of any size, was not a Buzzard at all. The call was that of a mimic; a Jay, which seemed to be chortling quietly to itself as it hopped away – happy to have caused a little confusion in the garden.

Brampton Spring: chorus

April 17, 2016

The dawn chorus is reaching a new intensity. The song of the natives, such as the Robin and the Wren, is being strengthened by the complex warblings of newly arrived summer visitors. Setting aside the monotony of the Chiffchaff’s two-note, the chorus has been expanded by other members of the Warbler clan. Blackcaps and Garden Warblers can now be be heard – they seem to have upped the general volume with their full-throated tunes. They seem to be making themselves at home in the shrubby wildernesses of copses and marshy areas which are scattered through the parish. We wait for the Cuckoo.

As for the trees, the Oaks buds are starting to burst, many Sycamores are out, the Hawthorns are a rich green. The Ashes are yet to show. The Blackthorns, or those which have survived the scorched earth policy of the over zealous clearance of the Bure Valley Railway, are adorned with snow fresh blossom.

The morning of Easter Sunday is clear and bright. The fresh southerly breeze of yesterday afternoon has delivered change. This morning Spring migrants have arrived. Only last Thursday the Winter Thrushes, Fieldfare and Redwings, were gathering on the freshly ploughed Church Field. By Good Friday they had left for the tundra.

This morning a single Swallow swooped around Fern Cottage, vibrant chattering call announcing its arrival. The garden near Pear Tree Pyghtle echoes to the persistent call of a Chiffchaff. A flock of Golden Plover drift around on the strong breeze directly over the village; their melodic, almost mournful, whistling calls gently shower down. The flock numbers forty or so, perhaps more. They stopover for a few days in Spring and Autumn – centring on the same fields and occasionally setting off on circular flights around the parish calling as they go. To me this is the real sign that Spring is here.

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The churchyard daffodils (or Lent Lilies) brighten up a cloudy Palm Sunday morning – tree buds are yet to burst, but the village is settling into the Spring.

The Island was full of Snipe. As we walked along the footpath they spring from the river margin singly and in groups, or “Wisps” as they are known – such a descriptive collective noun; covering both their alarm call and their diminutive and rapidly scattering disappearance. Yesterday’s northerly breeze has calmed and it was now so Spring-like. A promise of warmer weather in the week ahead.

David reports of a flock of chattering birds in the river Alders – from their size, noise and description we wonder if they were Waxwings pausing briefly on their way north.

Primroses – February

February 14, 2016

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