What is it that makes the arrival of our Summer birds so exciting? Almost the first one we hear is the chiff-chaff but then they begin to arrive in rapid succession. As I posted yesterday, our first swallow has arrived back - and what a lot of bloggy friends left a comment to say how excited they were. Friends in America talked about their new arrivals and Poet in Residence talked of the storks coming back. Maybe we get so thrilled because they have all come so far on such amazing - and largely unexplained - journeys. Whatever it is - welcome to you all as you come back here for the Summer. Here is what the poet Edward Thomas had to say about it:-
"When we hear a bird's note for the first time in Spring, it usually happens that conditions are favourable. If rain is falling or wind roaring in tossing branches, any noise but a loud or near one may be drowned; also mere cold and cloudiness, if they do not keep us indoors, suffice to put us out of humour for expecting. Thus only naturalists are likely as a rule, to hear the "first" note in conditions which are unfavourable, that is to say, which will not further its effect. Again, if we have minds bent on other things or altogether troubled and self-centred, the chances are against hearing it. Company and conversation, the sounds of men or horses or wheels, have the same effect as rain or wind. Thus we often hear the first cuckoo in the first mild, quiet weather of Spring, with minds more or less tranquil. If I hear it so, though I cannot imagine anyone less superstitious, I have an instant feeling of luck. Ten years ago I remember hearing the cuckoo sing for the first time when I had started out for the day. The bird was slanting down towards our plum tree and cuckooing there, so that I could not help running home in the hope that I should be the first to tell the good news!
Add to that description Delius's "On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring." and you have the magic of Spring in a Nutshell. Happy listening.