A surprising ride for wildlife:
- A decent-sized flock of starlings in a field near Nuffield – far more than I normally see around here at any time of year;
- Red-kites play-fighting below Swyncombe, including one ‘bombing’ another on the ground – which later flew up, seemingly fine, reinforcing the impression that it is all play-fighting and nothing else;
- A hare jumping around in field near Benson – I know their breeding season is longer than just March but you don’t often see them much later than that;
- A ferret-weasel-stoat type of animal, dragging a dead baby rabbit across a lane and into a hedge. Now, I’m not saying this with any certainty, but judging by the colouring I’d say this was a polecat I saw – near Checkendon – but I’ve read they’re mainly to be found in Wales, with some sightings in Hampshire and Wiltshire. So … I’m totally unsure about this, but it looked very polecat-like.
- And a fair few swallows hurtling around on their low-level sorties in the quieter lanes, often within just a few feet of me – but I think there are fewer than normal.
And you can still go for walks down bluebell-lined paths, weeks after they should be over. They’re saying it’s the coldest spring in 50 years but I fear that sends the wrong message. Instead of that feeling alarming, it’s reassuring – oh, it’s rare but it’s happened before so it’s nothing to worry about. It doesn’t put it in context – the context of the increasing frequency of unusual weather events of any type.
Everything else aside, it’s another dismal example of the media selling its audience short.