I saw my first swallow over the garden on Friday - 10th March! Last year, the first one I spotted was on 16 April. It didn't stay around and I haven't seen another one, but I know that house martins were recorded by visitors to RSPB Ham Wall last weekend.
Can we believe in Spring again now? It has happened in a couple of short weeks. The daffodils are in full flood, I have seen my first sweet violets, there are primroses on the banks and we have blossom, finally. The blackthorn was followed by the pink cherries, and in the village this morning: two magnolias - glowing. Tiny leaves are bursting from buds; the young plants in our new native hedge looks like they might thicken up a bit this year.
The pond that we dug and filled last autumn was immediately adopted as a bathing spot for the clouds of starlings that cross the house on the way to and from their feeding and roosting spots. The house sparrows love it too. A surprising number of invertebrates have already made a home there. On Sunday we found a Great Diving Beetle. We can't wait to plant it up and get that water clear.
Birdsong in the garden seems to get louder every day. The male blackbird has reclaimed his singing tree, a silver birch above the pond. The walnut tree is being visited by hordes of rooks who crash around, breaking off the brittle twigs and dragging them back to their shaggy stick piles in the high trees by the Church. The nest boxes in the garden have been explored, I think at least one is already being used by blue tits. So far, our owl box remains empty though.