Sunshine streams through the window as I write this but rain is forecast from midday and its predicted to continue until the weekend. All of which may explain why I took an extended break to warmer climes and different birds. California, Arizona, Hawaii and Tenerife are now behind me and I've started surveying Charente again.
First, the birds that have already arrived for the new breeding season: chiffs, black redstarts and blackcaps are plentiful and I found three swallows, a few meadow pipits and a little ringed plover in the Tardoire valley along with a few late cranes which have recently passed over northwards. But that's about it up to now!
There are two reasons for this, one is that it's still quite early in the year and the other is that despite the aforementioned rain there has not been enough of it while I've been away to flood the rivers. The migrating little ringed plover which I saw this week was making the best of a tiny pool in the middle of a field which in some Springs is completely inundated and a visit to the Bandiat revealed that not only is it not over its banks but that it clearly hasn't been so (yet) this year.
The waders and wildfowl which are not stopping off in the river valleys close to me have, however, been reported from the permanent lakes and ponds of Charente so I might take a trip to the high Charente once the rain stops.
Still, it is Spring! and the song of the blackbird is delighting us as always, woodpeckers are drumming, a robin is nesting by my back door and there's a chorus every morning. Things are quickly getting better.