The sun doesn't get round to the west-facing front of our house until late morning, so I sat on the steps at the side of our patio this morning, trying to catch some early morning warmth while reading a book. I had just finished a chapter, and glanced up to see the first swallow of the summer fly over my right shoulder, skim down to near grass-level above the lawn, then lope over the hedge and away.
The sighting made my day. I always become anxious at this time of year, wondering what on earth can be delaying the swallows. The earliest I have ever seen a swallow here is on my birthday (2nd April), so it's usually around then that my anxiety starts. Our first swallow this year was over a week late, as far as I'm concerned.
Later in the morning, I had a long phone chat with a friend in Scotland. She gets ospreys near her house. I pretended not to be at all jealous. While we were talking, she spotted a buzzard out of her window. I explained that, in the (nearly) ten years that we have lived here, I have only ever seen a single buzzard from our house. We live in sheep- and grouse-country, so I suspect that some of the local farmers and/or gamekeepers must persecute raptors.
Imagine my delight, therefore, when, later this afternoon, I spotted a buzzard circling lazily upwards on some thermals. I watched it for ten minutes until it disappeared into the now glaring sun. Wonderful.
Then, to cap it all, this evening, we spotted our first bats of the year.
I guess summer is finally on its way.