The Sound of Spring


ell Spring is here, albeit in a damp, windy, hot and cold way. Whilst I may find the weather hard to keep up with - having got soaked through and very cold the week before last, and then wearing too many clothes last week - I find the wildlife comes alive from the end of winter through to spring. Last Monday I heard the Cuckoo for the first time this year...

...and the swallows also started to circle our house last week. They are animals that always make me happy as they chatter and swoop about. I find it odd that hearing and seeing another animal can affect my mood. But having just written that, it seems perfectly feasible. I think the way in which they speed around so close to the ground is exhilarating to watch. And at the risk of anthropomorphising, they do look like they're having fun!

The curlews arrived a day later than last year, on 4/3/15. Well, they arrived on 3/3/14 last year, so maybe for the Curlews it was the same day as I imagine that they don't follow the Gregorian calendar!

Other sounds this spring have been the increasing noise of the Roe Bucks as they head towards the rut in July/August. Rather than there actually being an increase of the deer barking in our area, I think that I have become more familiar with the sounds that they make, and I am able to discern a roe bark over that of a common dog barking, which I ignore much of the time. The mother of last year's male and female appears to be pregnant; she gave birth around the middle of June last year. Roe Does have a unique ability: while they mate with a buck in late summer, the fertilised egg does not start to grow until December. This is called embryonic diapause. They then give birth around May/June. 

I have found that since moving out of the city and into a rural area, I have become more and more aware of the natural sounds of life around me. With the passing of each year, I feel that I am becoming more attuned, or maybe more in-tune, with the natural world around me. This is in direct contrast to life in the city, where I found that I had gotten used to blocking out sounds, not becoming attuned to them. Friends would come and stay and mention the noise of the Heathrow flight-path overhead, and it would take me a moment to become aware of it. I had become desensitised to it. I find it interesting, then, to notice that I seem to be letting in more natural noise in the countryside, while in the city I was blocking out the urban noises. I can expand outdoors, while I seem to contract in the city.