The most exciting time of year

I really love this time of the year. Maybe it is because I am an ecologist by training but I have  huge expectations – spring for me is the real deal!

I have been out and about today – I have felt the sun on my neck and seen its rays on the plants. I have heard of reports of sand martins in Devon and I have heard the breeding ‘waffles’ of green woodpeckers, the drumming of great spotted woodpeckers and the trills of nuthatches.

Today though, for me was the first real day of  spring – I heard my first chiffchaff – a small warbler- a summer migrant –  singing in the sunshine and saw my first butterfly – a  male brimstone on the wing. Indeed one of my friends saw a comma butterfly in East Devon.

It is also a potentially frustrating time – spring is not here yet, let alone summer – there will no doubt be setbacks. Early spring is a slow motion event whereas spring proper and summer are fast forward!

Every year I enjoy the song of my first willow warbler, the sight of my first swallow and fritillary butterfly.

And then there is the tension of what might happen – will red-backed shrikes (only bred on Dartmoor last year  in the UK after an absence of  20 years) breed again? – will dunlin ( a threatened wading bird) numbers  increase or decease? – will pied flycatchers ( a quintessential Dartmoor summer visitor) breed again in Lydford Gorge? – will High Brown Fritlillary butterflies ( a nationally endangered species thriving at Hembury Wood) flourish or decline? The list is endless…. So  much uncertainty.

But this is the excitement and anticipation. 

Much of what I speculate upon centres around rare and unusual things but nature excels at the common also being spectacular  – my day was made today at the light catching on primroses at Killerton – perhaps the ultimate herald of spring.

One thought on “The most exciting time of year

  1. Isn’t nature wonderful! How romantic you are. Devon is way ahead of us up here in Northumberland. Although, I have herad the drumming of woodpeckers and the mournful cry of the curlew so I know spring is about to be sprung. I can’t wait to feel the warmth of the sun…

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