On the wing

Yesterday, I saw my first swifts of the season. In Plaxtol’s high street, a faint and much-loved cry made me look up, and there they were: three sickle shapes winging overhead. (I’ve written about swifts before.)

There was some rain in the night – the most Plaxtol has had for many weeks – and this morning the air was much sweeter as a result. The rain seems to have rejuvenated everything – all our birds are very active, particularly the sparrows in the eaves. They swing about in the tall stems of cow parsley, too, hunting for any small edible thing, and in the last few days they have been joined by migratory whitethroats, elusive, but betraying their presence with their ratchety song.

First thing this morning I heard – then saw – lapwings in flight. The rhythmic hum of their wingstrokes earned them their name, of course, and it was accompanied by the ‘pee-wit’ which used to be a common sound in Plaxtol fields.

The cuckoo is loud and persistent this morning. There is an old rhyme:

Cuckoo, cherry-tree,

Good bird, tell me

How many years have I to live?

If the folklore is true, we in Plaxtol have many more years to enjoy the familiar and the new.

© New Moons For Old 2017

Photo credit: Common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) by Vogelartinfo (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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