Wildlife

image_4 image_2IMG_0667 IMG_7179IMG_7176

While the west of the UK has been basking in sunshine, the east has been huddling in waterproofs or staying indoors trying to avoid the wind and driving rain. It feels as though we’ve been under a dark-grey cloud for days and it’s so hard to feel full of the joys of spring and motivated to do anything much when it’s like this. It’s half term and the children are all at home revising, to a greater or lesser degree, so at least they’re not feeling too hard done by. The middle and youngest have their end-of-year exams when they go back to school and the eldest still has 11 more GCSE exams to go. It’s a long haul.

Thank goodness for the dog. She won’t settle until she’s had her morning walk and this spurs me into action, to get up and take her out. I have to force myself to get things done to avoid sliding into full-on lethargy; staying in my pyjamas all day is mighty appealing. It’s amazing what a lack of sunshine does to my get-up-and-go.

It’s not been all gloom here, though. David was home for five days over the Bank Holiday weekend which made it feel more like a holiday. We even had one day without the kids when they all went on a school trip to watch the rugby at Twickenham. We had a lovely dog walk at Pegwell Bay (it didn’t rain), followed by coffee and cake In A Cafe, followed by clearing out the shed. We know how to enjoy ourselves. Ok, so the last bit doesn’t sound fun but the shed has been driving us nuts for months. You couldn’t get at anything without wheeling out the lawnmower first. Now you can walk in, turn around, reach things at the back of the shed. It’s brilliant. Small things 🙂

Rewind to Pegwell Bay. The sight of loads of swifts* wheeling above the car park greeted us. Their arrival in London heralded summer to me and I loved hearing their loud “schrees” as they whizzed around the buildings. I haven’t seen many since we moved here and it was wonderful to see them. The wind whipped up as we walked along the trail around the reserve and it was hard to hear, let alone see, much. We stopped to look at the highland cattle – totally incongruous in this landscape – when a bird caught my eye. It flew across our line of sight and something stirred deep in my memory. A slate-grey bird with a flight similar to that of a bird-of-prey… Suddenly, a very faint but unmistakable sound… ‘Cuck-oo’. Oh my goodness, yes! A cuckoo! I haven’t heard one for four years – and I can remember exactly what I was doing at the time, hanging out washing in the garden(!) – so it was thrilling. We followed the sound which was tricky in the wind and, although we didn’t see it again, we listened to the cuckoo-ing for a while and it totally made my day.

Since I’ve been sitting here writing it has got a little lighter. And the rain seems to have stopped. It might be time to put on my wellies and go on snail patrol… Have a great rest of the week.

* Swifts fly from southern and central Africa to Europe each year to breed, arriving in the UK in May and leaving in August. They fly an incredible 14,000 miles – find out more about these amazing birds here.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

40 thoughts on “Wildlife

  1. In’t it strange how you can always remember the song of the cuckoo? I can remember every one I’ve ever heard, and where it was (in the garden at Giverney; walking the K and A towpath; on the Two Tunnels path; in the Black Forest). It’s such an evocative sound.
    Love your Highland Cattle! that’s a sight to behold when you’re out walking…

    Like

  2. Oh! I can so relate to your lethargy. I have been feeling permanently on the verge of hypothermia and have been admiring the energy of slugs and snails from a window next to a large radiator. Please send some motivation soonest.

    Like

    1. I cannot bring myself to admire slugs and snails in any way at all. They’re currently working their way through my lovingly raised sunflowers and drumstick alliums… Hope your energy has been revived with the sunshine.

      Like

  3. Cuckoos calling and a picturesque highland cow guarding the footpath, rare treats indeed. Thanks for the interesting swallow link, for some reason we don’t see them this high in the valley and have to trek down to the river to enjoy their aerobatics.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t it grand to hear the cuckoo? Someone told me that whatever you’re doing when you hear the first cuckoo of the year is what you’ll be doing for the rest of the summer, which is not so good if you’re hanging out the washing but good if you’re walking. Very grey here and not at all how I hoped June would start.

    Like

    1. I’ve not heard that old wives’ tale before. I don’t mind the walking bit as long as there are regular stops for tea and cake :-O Hope the weather has perked up with you. There’s a rumbling thunder storm in the Channel at the mo.

      Like

  5. I’m so pleased you saw and heard the cuckoo. A rare treat these days. The swifts too. I’ve been deflated this week too and like you our dogs get me out when it would be tempting not to! Xx

    Like

  6. Wonderful swifts, they’re one of my favourite birds. And how lovely to hear a cuckoo. Are you doing 30 Days Wild? If so, you’re off to a very good start. Love the cow picture. And I can imagine the satisfaction in a tidy shed. I need to tackle the garage at some stage. Not quite yet though… I hope the weather improves for you. It’s all gone a bit damp and grey here too now. CJ xx

    Like

  7. I haven’t heard a cuckoo in 20 years and have never seen one n the wild. You are so lucky! The swifts have arrived here, too. Glad you had a lovely weekend and even some child free time. x

    Like

  8. Yes, the grey stuff has arrived in Devon. No rain though, which the garden really needs. Seems odd that we should be getting the best of the weather. It’s usually the other way round.

    Like

  9. We had that cold, wet weather for over two weeks, earlier this month. Wishing you plenty of tea and blankets until the sun comes out again. Your swift story made me wonder if swifts are related to swallows, which we see here in rural areas, especially where there are wide open fields. Apparently they’re similar, but only distant relatives.

    Like

    1. Swallows are hirundines (a family which also includes house martins and sand martins) and swifts are apodidae – but they look similar and are around at the same time and often confused.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Amazing how much weather affects our moods isn’t it? I hope the sun makes an appearance for you soon. We are suffering from lack of rain here in Maine, but I’m savoring all the sunshine.

    Like

  11. We’ve been sitting under that dark grey cloud too all week up in Northumberland (further up the east coast from you) and I’ve also found it difficult to work up energies to do anything. Fingers crossed we have a change-a-coming – and sunny days and summer for a while!

    Like

  12. As you say – how incongruous the highland cattle look in your landscape. That is such a lovely track that he/she is lying on. Is it the same one that you used for the time lapse on the hawthorns flowering? We are all rain, rain here. Unusual for us.

    Like

    1. It’s not the same place – the hawthorns are near the clifftop just up the road from our house and the cattle are on a nature reserve a few miles along the coast. Hope the sun comes out for you soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. according to my daughter revision can only be done in pj’s. and preferably in bed with a fluffy blanket too. dismal weather here too, but then I remember the summers of my exams being gorgeous and I resented having to revise whilst it was sunny outside so perhaps it’s just as well……..

    Like

  14. I know exactly what you mean about the weather – I spent most of the week yawning, fighting off a headache (the low air pressure always does that to me) and feeling lethargic. Today, though when the weather was glorious, I felt full of energy. But it sounds like you still had a nice few days and some family time. The shed clear out made me smile – I totally understand how that would make someone happy! x

    Like

  15. As you mention we have been basking in sunshine so much that all 3 water barrels are now empty and we desperately could do with some rain! Watching swifts is so magical. Sarah x

    Like

Please leave a comment if you'd like to. I love reading them. Making connections with people is the nicest part of blogging.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s