Monday, 28 March 2011

Springing out all over

I have no benchmark from last year, but the blossom seems to be putting on a spectacular display. After a mild and bright last week, the blackthorn in particular is dappling the hedgerows with its delicate white flowers. En masse they create splashes of light amongst mostly dormant trees. Spring is apparently early - this website gives information about indicator species.

Of course the classic indicator, as recorded in the letters pages of The Times, is the first cuckoo of the year. I like this from 1951:

"I think we can claim to have heard the first cuckoo of spring." A bold claim this, for the date of hearing was March 29 (at about 10 minutes to 7am) and there are not a few naturalists, in ordinary circumstances  kindly and tolerant persons, to whom the mere suggestion that a cuckoo can be heard before April is as a red rag to a bull.

As per his recent entry, Duncan has heard one already in Somerset, which would indicate that spring down there is progressing apace. No cuckoos here, but the blossom is a delight!

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