Friday, 29 February 2008

Spring is Sprung

It was lunchtime, there was no traffic, the pneumatic pruners were silent in the plum orchards as were the chain saws in the little wood at the bottom of the drive. I took my coffee out to the patio, the only sound was the overwhelming hum from the myriad of insects darting from flower to flower in the ornamental plum tree. Peace and quiet, it’s what rural France is all about.

Then a dog at a neighbouring farm started barking that excited sort of bark that makes you look to see why. That’s when I saw them, five big black birds heading this way. Excitement filled me, were they the storks? But there were only five and they weren’t flying in V formation; I went inside for the binoculars. By the time I got out again I fully expected them to be gone. I remember last year being amazed at how quickly the storks passed overhead, but they were still there, circling.

As I focused the binoculars about fifty more appeared and headed for the scouting party of five. It seemed to me that the five had gone ahead to find a thermal as the group now massed together and circled for nearly five minutes slowly gaining height. Finally they moved off, first as a bit of a rabble but gradually spacing themselves out into that characteristic V.

It was the first of March last year when they passed here, had this not been a leap year it would again have been the first of March. And they manage it without a calendar or PDA!

I waited for an hour but no more followed, so different from last year. About 5 pm though the sky was full of sound, the main group finally arrived. In the space of half an hour 6 – 7 groups of two to three hundred birds tracked their way NE over the farm. They make quite a racket and you hear them well before they appear as a line snaking their way across the sky.

The main group were much later in the day than last year and I don’t think as many have passed so there might be some more tomorrow if the weather hold out. It’s strange, although I’ve not been brought up with the migration both this year and last seeing them really makes me feel spring is here and all is right with the world.

As the sun went down this evening with the rain clouds passing overhead the light gave a wonderful golden glow over the fields. The green really did look that vibrant and the soil in the sunlight had a golden hue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I didn't know storks fly in V's. I watch every spring and fall for Canada geese flying in V formation.

I'm so envious of your green grass and blooming trees. We have 2' of snow on the ground now and are at the beginning of another storm that will bring another 8-16". I'm so eager to be outside in beautiful spring weather. Thank you for sharing the pictures with us!