For me, it's my local corn buntings that herald the return of spring. In winter, they are fleeting specks in the muddy fields, blending cryptically into hedgerows and stubble, only spilling into my consciousness with sudden flight and soft, rippling calls.
But come February they have grown bolder and by the middle of the month the first males are seeking out perches from which their rattling song can transmit. Tucked somewhere about them must be a small bag filled with shards and shiny fragments which they juggle and swing, because this is how I can best describe the song that stirs the fields from their wintry pallor. Unlike many other birds, my corn buntings are oddly confiding, happy to let an observer into their realm down to a few metres. The song draws me into a landscape that has changed significantly over the decades, the fields have expanded and people have retreated. But atop telegraph poles and hedgerows these birds still return at this time, perched like streaky sentinels, ever alert to the season's sneaking presence.
|Corn Bunting, North Kent, February 2015|