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Golden horde arrive – as Spring presses north the Golden Plover call on a moonlit evening in Norfolk.

March 1, 2012

As I walk out along the old railway line, the waxing half moon hangs in the sky above Jupiter and Venus. The planets measure out a gentle tilting line arcing down to the south west. Above the evening hum of tyre noise from the Aylsham Road comes the unmistakeable whistle of a Golden Plover. These wading birds are much given to night flights, they probably migrate during the dark hours. Their arrival locally is a clear signal of the gathering momentum of Spring. For as many years as I can remember they have gathered on the same few arable fields to the south of us. They appear to use this as a staging post during their Autumn and Spring migrations. If I lay in bed awake on a moonlit night at migration time their whistles regularly drift through the open window from somewhere in the night sky. Their journey north will eventually end on their nesting grounds on Arctic tundra, but for a short while they take the soft Norfolk air whilst refuelling and waiting for that moment when it is right to press on.

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