Arnside and beyond

By gladders

Willow warbler

A willow warbler sings from the still bare twigs of an ash tree on the top of Arnside Knott. It was a perfect early Sunday morning, so quiet but for the cascade of notes from the tiny warbler belting out his song incessantly. And, something I've never heard from here before, the unmistakeable boom of a bittern, carrying from Silverdale Moss, a mile away and 550 feet lower. For a while there was no traffic noise from either the M6 or the A590.

I've probably said it before, but I look forward every year to the first willow warblers returning to the Knott in early April.  Last year the first bird arrived before the end of March, this year my first was on the 8th of April blown in by the change of wind direction to a southerly flow.  This bird has migrated all the way from southern Africa to breed in our open woodland and scrubby areas. A tiny miracle, something that weighs only 10 grams, or the weight of salt that I add to a bake of two small loaves. And how can something so small project its voice so powerfully?

On mornings like these, I can forget the troubles of our human world and glory in the magic and endurance of nature.

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