April is the cruellest month

30 March 2019 | Posted in Rye Harbour
April is the cruellest month
Sedge Warbler

When T.S. Eliot wrote the first words of The Waste Land …..  April is the cruellest month … many people thought it was because the life and colour of spring throws one's depression into stark relief and forces painful memories to surface. But I think April can be a cruel month if the weather turns cold and wet, as it so often does… April showers and all that.

Lambs 5

April offers the rapid stirring of natural events such as the return of many birds from the south to nest here, including Swallows, Sea Swallows (Sandwich Terns below).....

Terns 3

.... Cuckoo and the warblers, plus the appearance of many types of insect and spiders and the flowering of so many flowers such as Danish Scurvygrass and Ivy-leaved Toadflax (below) and the first young birds and lambs of the year. 

Toadflax

The end of April sees the passage of wading birds, like Whimbrel on their way from Africa to the Arctic to take advantage of 24 daylight, lots of food and few predators.

Given fine weather April can be lovely and  warm so that the wildlife calendar advances quickly, BUT if the weather turns cold April can be so cruel and I often associate the first Lapwing chicks (below) with cold wet weather.

Lapwing chicks

Personally I always see April as the start of my working year as my first working day on the nature reserve was April Fool’s Day, and I spent it on a workparty building up the islands of Ternery Pool. Nowadays we try not to disturb the islands after 1st March, because the Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls start setting up their territories from then.

Gulls 10

Our summary of April wildlife is here https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/visit/rye-harbour/what-to-spot-this-month/april or look at last April’s summary https://sussexwildlifetrust.or...

You can read the whole of The Waste Land here, all 500 lines… https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47311/the-waste-land

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