One early morning this week, we were sat up in bed drinking our 'wake up' mug of tea and staring at screens bringing the latest news from around the world, mostly bad. There was still an hour to go before sunrise, but despite the gloom there came a sound, drifting in through the open window and assailing our ears for the first time since last August.
Has it really been six months?
There was no mistaking the strident piping from several individuals which announced that the Oystercatchers were back. A very few of these strikingly-plumaged waders are seen around these shores throughout the Winter, and larger flocks of returners have been spotted in recent weeks, foraging in rockpools and flooded fields near the coast. But here was a positive indication that the year is slowly rotating towards the renewal of life, as birds begin prospecting further inland.
We celebrated with a second mug of tea and a shared smile at the clarion call heralding the approach of Spring.