The swallows appear to have gone. There were scores of them skimming the river for insects yesterday, but none today. I stood by Cotterstock pond for 10 minutes looking towards the church. For four months there’s always been at least one arcing through the sky above the tower, but it all looked strangely flat and two-dimensional in the mid-morning sun. The two chicks only left the nest in the porch on Friday – if they’ve gone too, then God Speed. At least they’ve set off in light winds and good weather.
There were plenty of good things to compensate. There were so many white butterflies fluttering around me on one stretch of the river path that I might have been a Disney Princess. There were more Speckled Woods on the feather-lined path through the spinney than I’ve ever seen before. The chiffchaffs are raising their volume by the day. And, joy of joys, there was a blackcap singing from a tree just overhead. I stood and listened for ages. It was quiet, barely more than sub-singing. All the beauty with none of the bravado.