The sky in his eye...

Typical April weather, starting with blue skies and frost, followed by the development of dramatic cumulo-nimbus clouds over the course of the morning. Despite their menacing appearance, very little rain fell on our particular corner of the world.

The dogs and I had a leisurely walk through Thorpe and Bluebell Woods, and then down into the nature reserve at Ferry Meadows. The bluebells are building up their numbers now, but the floral stars of the day were the lesser celandines and wood anemones, sparkling in the morning sunshine.

Spring has definitely sprung, and I was very excited to hear the first cuckoo of the year. Cuckoos have had a bad time recently, but I'm lucky enough to live in a part of the world where they're still relatively common. I think this is the earliest date that I've heard one locally. Every patch of dense scrub now seems to have a singing blackcap, and eventually I picked out the characteristic liquid, rippling call of the first willow warbler of the year.

Whilst walking along the river I heard the shrill screech of a pair of common terns, one of which wheeled around and then plunged into the water to catch a fish. Shortly afterwards I came across this very bold swan, who swam over to swear at the dogs. I can never resist a swan, and eventually chose this image because the river and sky are perfectly reflected in its eye. I also saw the brilliant turquoise flash of the kingfisher, but it was far too quick for me today!

The afternoon was spent doing some gardening and general admin. Yet another sign of spring was the first male orange-tip butterfly of the year! I do find that spring progresses by leaps and bounds - on a particular day a whole host of new things happen. A metaphor for the whole of life perhaps...

PS Thanks so much for all the hearts, stars and comments on yesterday's red kite :) I'm sorry I seem to have so little time to interact at the moment - I feel I'm really missing out...

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