|The causeway in Hinchingbrooke Country Park.|
This is Spring's second attempt here. I put the washing line up in February when we had a few days of Mediterranean weather. Blossom burst out along the verges, blackbirds and thrushes sang in the dawn of each lengthening day and frogs returned to garden ponds. We even had some early frogspawn. Then March "came in like a lion" with a succession of gales and we had a brief "blackthorn winter" that destroyed a lot of the early blossom.
|Frogspawn and toadspawn together.|
The omens were good as I crossed the road near Samuel Pepys' cottage where a red kite and a buzzard flew low overhead, just as they would have in his day too. Entering the meadow through the roadside kissing gate I spooked half a dozen rabbits, a green woodpecker and a crow but a scan of the close-cropped turf and the tops of fence-posts produced no wagtails or passing wheatears. They will come in the next week I'm sure. Badgers had worked the field during the night, turning over dried cowpats to root for worms beneath.
The reeds and rushes around the lakes are still straw coloured but fresh green shoots will appear through the mats of dead stems any day now. I listened for the trip-trop jingle of a reed bunting or the chatter of the first sedge warbler but, as so often happens, I'm anticipating the season by a week or so. The only chatter I heard from the reeds was a wren, which is possibly the most common bird in the park this year; hard to see but easy to hear.
|Frog (with toad in foreground)|
|Bee-fly sunning itself.|
|Wild arum leaves.|
|Elm beetle galleries.|
|A tangle of 6 grass snakes.|