Alison Jane Harley

- botanical and floral artist -

Bird song

Cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis)

Almost every day during our walks we have been enjoying the sound of birdsong without really being aware of listening. However, for the past couple of weeks we have been actively hearing and listening to the clear, relentless and quite hauntingly lovely call of the cuckoo. I don’t think I’ve heard the cuckoo call before and have never seen the bird. This year I became aware of it before I heard it because I came across a pretty little pink flower growing along the riverbank and I identified it as the Cardamine pratensis or, more commonly known as the Cuckoo Flower because apparently its appearance coincides with that of the cuckoo in April. However I first spotted the flower in March and heard the cuckoo calling mid April so I think an early bloom took place this year.

Blue tit on clematis

Of course it is springtime and the birds are busy nesting but today, after a distinctly impressive concert by one tiny little great tit, we really were stopped in our tracks. We wondered how on earth such a tiny, tiny little being could create such clear and melodic notes that reach across the sky from one tree-top to another. One bird calls out a beautiful tuneful message and across the airwaves comes an equally beautiful and tuneful reply.

..another blue tit on clematis

I adore springtime and am very aware when the birds are nesting, and avoid pruning hedges or doing anything that may disturb them. We feed them and watch them flutter and play around the hanging feeders and tables. But there is something different this year – they seem more confident and less flighty. Their presence in the garden hasn’t changed much but they seem so much more noticeable and numerous out in the parks and countryside.

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