Spring Birds in Normandy


I am now back from a week in England and just before I left I saw my first swallow of the year, although at Flers, not here at the gite in Lenault.  Since then the swallows have arrived back in greater numbers and there are also the sounds of 2 other birds that herald warmer times - cuckoos and woodpeckers.


After their long journey from the south nothing says spring moving towards summer more than the arrival of the swallows and their arobatics over the fields are a joy to watch.  A few years ago we had no swallows return but numbers are once again rising and with luck we'll have plenty of pairs nesting this year. 

Swallow singing Image with permission by Charlesjsharp - Own work, from Sharp Photography


 "Cuckoo, cuckoo" - what a wonderful sound to hear.  This rarely seen but often heard bird with it's propensity to lay in other, smaller birds' nests is a sure sign that winter has gone.  Yesterday I heard the first cuckoo calling in the valley below the gite.

Common CuckooImage with permission by GabrielBuissart - self-made, Romelaere, Clairmarais FR


This may seem an odd choice of spring bird as all the woodpecker species we get locally (Green, Lesser-Spotted, Greater-Spotted and the rare Black) are residesnt throughout the year.  True, but it is in spring that you hear their tapping most often.  Insects are on the move in trees and hungry woodpeckers are busy digging them out.  Woodpecker tapping is also a sex thing, with the male birds tapping manically to attract a mate and also using the tapping to define their territory.  Apparently head banging is a good thing in the world of woodpeckers!

Greater spotted woodpeckers

With these 3 birds swooping, calling and tapping I know spring is here.  Have you seen or heard any of them yet?

 Spring birds at Eco-Gites of Lenault, Normandy