TDark rain clouds are rising after a night of heavy rain. The paths and the leaves shine in the morning sun. Standing on top of the hill near the visitor center, I watch the swallows melt low, chasing the bugs above the green field below. The trees are full of birds and their calls, as if it was spring. A wren chases a chick. A male and a female blackbird, outraged by the arrival of two mistletoe thrushes, chase the arrivals chatting. Blue tits, great tits, and long-tailed tits ooze, hiss and chirp as they move through the branches.
I hear the soft whistles of bullfinches, hidden in the dense foliage. A large chaffinch flies off from a large birch tree, showing off its white rump and black tail, and lands in another tree. The bright pink-breasted male sits on a branch for a moment, lit by the sun, then walks away.
Across the streams, Canada geese and newly arrived greylag geese congregate in swamps and fields. Their numbers are increasing every day and they are now joined by more and more ducks – teal, chipeau duck, duck duck – as well as lapwing.
The flying lapwings come up first, squealing and looping, followed by teals and starlings. The bird of prey that disturbed them is a large marsh harrier, flying slowly, low above the grass and water. It flaps its wings every few seconds, then floats in search of prey. He spins around and falls into the tall grass. But then he gets up almost immediately and flies away. The Marsh Harrier may be passing through, or it may stay over the winter. With his overall subdued colors but pale interior primary feathers with dark tips, he resembles a sub-adult male in his second fall. The bird will acquire its more contrasting tricolor wing pattern in spring.
The song of a lark descends from above. I look up to see him soaring high, his wings flickering. In the distance, the clouds darken again and a rainbow emerges and fades.