Signs of spring

First sign of spring

The signs of spring are tentatively appearing, despite the cold and gloomy winter and today’s near-gale force winds and driving rain.

Late though they are this year, cowslips now carpet the fields and there are vibrant patches of violets in the hedgerows.

Every year, my husband, who is a statistics freak, records the dates on which various migratory birds arrive.  Throughout the winter, we look forward to these harbingers of fine weather and months of outdoor living.

The hoopoes had already arrived about 10 days ago, with their signature ‘hoo-hoo-hoo’ call and red-Indian headdress crests.  We’ve seen one at close quarters when it clung to the outside window frame of our office.  Its sabre-like beak is so long that it had to turn its head sideways to look in.  We guess it saw its own reflection and came to inspect what it thought was a mate or a rival. 

The cuckoo arrived yesterday (29 March), which is early, although the very earliest we have recorded is 25 March.  Given today’s weather, it probably wishes it had stayed at home.  They normally arrive in early April.  After the first day, they keep quiet for a week or so, no doubt to recover from the shock of the climate change from their African homeland.

The nightingales normally arrive around mid-April.  Small and insignificant birds to look at, they take refuge in thickets and sing their sliding and virtuoso song at all times of the day and night.

The final visitor to arrive is the golden oriole, a black and yellow parrot-like bird which cavorts in the tree-tops and utters strange electronic-like noises and remarkably human wolf-whistles.

Copyright © 2010 A writer’s lot in France, all rights reserved.

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About nessafrance

My husband and I moved to an 18th-century farmhouse in SW France in 1997. I am fascinated by French history, rural traditions and customs and enjoy seeking out the reality behind the myths. I run my own copywriting business and write short stories and the occasional novel in my spare time. My husband appears here as the SF, which stands for Statistics Freak, owing to his penchant for recording numbers about everything.
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4 Responses to Signs of spring

  1. Stephanie says:

    We always look for the first swallow – March 20 this year. Like you, I love spotting the signs of spring. It’s been another long winter but it really seems to be over now.
    I enjoy your blog very much.
    Cordialement,
    Stephanie

    Like

    • nessafrance says:

      Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks for the information about the swallows – we haven’t seen any yet. This was our worst winter in 13 years here so I hope spring is going to be good to make up for it.
      I’m glad you like the blog. I add new posts a couple of times a week so I hope you’ll come back and see what’s here.
      Best wishes,
      Vanessa

      Like

  2. Tina Nyström says:

    Hello there!

    Nice to hear that spring is alive and kicking. We are spending the easter days at “landet” in Jämtland up north. Peter, Isak and two of his friends are skiing all day long, today in Are. This morning it was snowing, yesterday it was raining and right now we can se a little patch of blue sky. In swedish this is called “aprilväder”, that means you never now what the next minute will bring. Oh look, now its snowing again! We have a lot of snow left too so we will have to wait a while for the tulips.

    Have a lovely easter!
    Tina and the others

    Like

    • nessafrance says:

      Hi Tina
      Hope you are having a good time up north. Winter was bad here, but even worse for you over there. We now have daffodils and blossom on the plum trees, but it’s late this year.
      Happy Easter to you all.
      Vanessa

      Like

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