This is on the very fringe of my running capabilities, I'd say, being not far off 5 miles from home.
As it turned out, it was a day for looking up, rather than looking down. I thought there would be a lot of flowers out at Muskham Lake, but as it turned out, aside from a few cowslips and beautiful willow blossom, there wasn't a whole lot to be seen.
But the sky, well the sky was busy with life. Two male buzzards were spiralling up on a thermal by the Great North Road, while a clumsy human on a motorised paraglider surrendered to gravity in my same field of view. South Muskham church was being used as a watchtower by at least three, and perhaps even four kestrels, which flew off the south face of the clock tower as I approached, scalpelling the air with molecule thin wings.
And then, after a circuit of the lake, and an enjoyable run along the Muskham Ferry stretch of the river, I saw it. A bird on a wire, by the big barned farm at the entrance to North Muskham that always seems so attractive to birds. A small, dark bird, but a highly significant one.
The first swallow of the year, glossy black blue plumage and tail streamers like stilettos. Red face plain as a robin's breast. Sat quietly watching me, waiting for the precise moment I deployed my camera-phone to fly off south with that beautiful, powerful flight.
April 7th. I remember my first swallows and sand martins of last year. They all descended upon Kingsmill Reservoir on the same day, probably a week or two later. Remember it well, my mother was in hospital there for a month. A time of stress, relieved by my walks around the water.
So though it was only one swallow, it was seen in rather happier circumstances.
|Bonus bee fly at the start of my run|
|South Muskham church tower|
|Berries, blossom and church, North Muskham|
|Celtic cross in North Muskham churchyard|
|Willow flowers, North Muskham Lake|
|Across the water|
|Docked conveniently close to the pub|
|First green alkalet of the year|
|South Muskham dovecote, sans doves|