Country diary: the patient birch waits for us
Blacka Moor, South Yorkshire: The shift from dormancy to life is a balancing act for this scrappy pioneer
Liminal spaces are often engrossing, and in nature they are doubly so. In a few paces I had stepped from mature woodland into scrubby moorland, swapping a bubbling cascade of chaffinch song for the honeyed sadness of the willow warbler, my first this year, secreted as if by magic from the thick mass of birch saplings that have sprung up along the fringes of the wood.
Down the slope in front of me, I heard a mistle thrush, and south over Totley Moss, the looping song of a curlew drifting back to earth. But it was the willow warblers that filled the air.