I’ve had to take Bert to work with me this week – how great it is, working in an office where you can take your dog! – and on the way home tonight I stopped off at Llynclys Common to walk him. It was lovely – the sun was shining, it was warm, and there were wood anemones everywhere, just beginning to close their delicately veined petals as the day started cooling.
And then, as we wandered through a wide swathe of clearing with a few shrubs and small trees, I heard it: the sound that, every year, never fails to make the hair on the back of my arms and neck stand up, to bring me to a standstill with held breath and a silly smile on my face; that liquid waterfall of silver notes that is my favourite birdsong ever: my first Willow Warbler of the year.
I don’t know what it is about the Willow Warbler’s song that stirs my soul so. Yes, I love to hear the first call of spring from his identical cousin the Chiff Chaff, and of course it gladdens my heart to see my first Blackcap, both of which tell us that spring is truly on the way. But the strangely melancholy, lovely, short but sweet little collection of notes from the first Willow Warbler – that means spring is definitely here.