It was entertaining to see two cuckoos in a blizzard yesterday afternoon, and my heart went out to them as they gazed wide-eyed at the fist-sized dollops of mushy snow. Having just arrived from the Congo, the sudden snowfall must have come as something of a shock to them.
I went around my larsen traps in the biting cold wind, crunching through an inch of snow while every wheatear, lark and warbler was standing on the track in a state of shock. They had abandoned their new found territories and gathered together so that there were a dozen wheatears together on the dyke tops here and two dozen larks there. Snipe crowded into the ditches where the slush lay, and only the curlews remained on their stances, probably knowing from long years of experience that the snow wouldn’t lie for long.
In the eerily silent aftermath, the hill was bizarrely altered. A single lark tried to make light of it all during the evening as the sun set over the Rhinns of Kells, but the jolly notes felt strange and unnatural on their own. Snipe started to chip and chack, but the evening belonged to a raven, which rose up from the murdered body of a dead blackie lamb. In the context of snow and darkness, the lamb seemed strangely out of context, even though we’re now on the verge of May.