Birds in a VillageSunday 21st May 2000
THE WOOD is at its greenest. Sessile Oaks are now in leaf but the soft grass on the slope beneath them is still looking fresh. The drifts of Wild Garlic in the shade alongside the stream may have faded but the scent still hangs in the air. Walking out at the other side, we pass a patch of the unrelated Hedge Garlic or Jack-by-the-Hedge, which is now in flower by a thorny patch at the edge of the path.
To the nose, the seasons are like a menu; after the garlic starter we're now on to a spicy main course (does the smell of hawthorn bear any resemblance to saffron? - probably not) which will soon be rounded off by a dessert perfumed with the muscat sweetness of Elderflower.
Perhaps in part because of the dense foliage, there's a greater variety of birds to be seen in the village than in the wood. A Blackbird sings from a chimney pot, Swifts circle around the rooftops, three Goldfinches perch on the telephone wires and a Pied Wagtail trots around on a driveway. As we leave the village three Chaffinches fly out over the fields.
There's a froth of Hedge Parsley on the verges at the bottom of the Balk. By the canal Sweet Cicely has now set seed.