Wandering alongside an autumn hedge all yellows, browns, reds, pinks and purples my eye was caught by a bright flash of orange-red ahead of me; a Redstart - its wings flapping in a blur; its tail fanning out - orange-red as it hovers and snatches at a fly. It lands on a fence post, standing upright, its tail shivering. An adult male. Then up it jumps again snatching at another passing insect and lands on a dead branch further along - it’s fiery tail and ‘tweet-tut’ fretting call teasing me on ...
What better introduction to Spring than this quotation from the writings of Richard Jefferies.
"The bird upon the tree utters the meaning of the wind—a voice of the grass and wild-flower, words of the green leaf; they speak through that slender tone. Sweetness of dew and rifts of sunshine, the dark hawthorn touched with breadths of open bud, the odour of the air, the colour of the daffodil—all that is delicious and beloved of springtime are expressed in his song. Genius is nature and his lay, like the sap in the bough from which he sings, rises without thought". —’ Field and Hedgerow’: Hours of Spring. Richard Jefferies
Summer for me starts with the first of the Spring and Summer migrants - Swallow, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff, although the very early ones of the latter may have overwintered. Soon followed by Swift, which for almost as long as I have been in North Wales - 25 years now - have turned up on May 12th.