Lo! where the rosy-bosom’d Hours,
Fair Venus’ train appear,
Disclose the long-expecting flowers,
And wake the purple year!
The Attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo’s note,
The untaught harmony of spring:
While whisp’ring pleasure as they fly,
Cool zephyrs thro’ the clear blue sky
Their gather’d fragrance fling.
– Thomas Gray, Ode to Spring
I genuinely enjoy all the seasons, but I won’t be original if I admit that Spring is my favourite. Yesterday, the Patch was screaming with the sights, sounds, and smells of early Spring.
It feels like we must must be close to peak Chiffchaff territory saturation; they are singing everywhere.
I also caught up up with my first Blackcap on the Patch for the year, finding a singing male just South of Heronry Pond on Wanstead Flats.
We are obviously still waiting for most of our Summer migrants to arrive, and all the patch birders have been hoping for an early, interesting, passage migrant. It looks like we will have to wait a little longer. I got my hopes up momentarily when a finch briefly perched in a small tree in the Brooms early on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a Twite, but a female Linnet – despite my naive hopes based, partly, on the fact that Linnet are rarely seen on the Patch far from around the Jubilee pond.
Spring is showing her wares in other, non-avian, forms too. The yellows have it with the March flowers at the moment on the patch.
The dandelion above may be common in name and status (amongst that huge and complicated plant family) but they are so magnificent when you stop to look at them; like staring into the sun with its layers and flares and knowing that it will also produce a moon of seeds later in the year. But even more impossibly yellow – albeit also very common on the Patch – is the celandine.
These early pollen providers, seem to be competing only with the nettles and Blackthorn on the Patch at the moment in terms of nectar for our early butterflies.
Without these early pollen traps there would be no early butterflies. We have now had most of the butterflies we could expect for this time of year, although I am still missing Comma, but yesterday saw Brimstone, Peacock, and Small Tortoiseshell around the Patch.
Like so many species, the common nature of the Small Tortoiseshell can obscure the fact that it should be far more populous and has undergone shocking falls in numbers in the past few decades.The Spring air made me search for evidence of reproduction in every corner of the Patch, whether it was the mating Robins, or the:
Paired up Stock Dove in the Dell:
A circling pair of Sparrowhawk.
I was also pleased to tick off a calling Nuthatch, finally found – in a very vocal mood – in the Reservoir Wood.
So, nothing to report that will elicit much of a twitch on the patch, but nonetheless it is just great to be out on a beautiful Spring day.