Yesterday, when helping my dh with the bonfire, it was basically still. My dh froze and cocked his head. A large smile appear on his face. Then I heard it as well -- wing beats flapping far above us. Two swans soared over our head -- large and majestic with wing beats so loud that you would almost think they were calling out.
My dh and youngest later went birdwatching up at Grindon Lough and saw seven Whooper swans. It has been a long time since my husband has seen Whoopers there. He had thought the swans he had seen earlier were whoopers but hadn't wanted to say. We mainly get Bewicks. Grindon was positively teaming with winter migrants -- grey lags, field fares, huge flocks of golden plover and lapwings as well. They were so excited that they came back for the telescope.
Generally Whoopers mean a cold winter. But it was the sound of their wings in the air that will stay with me.
At the moment much to my dh's delight, my youngest is very gone on birdwatching. Other people might find collections of stuffed birds boring or uninspiring, but my dh and youngest spend ages looking at them, discussing them. My youngest has started submitting bird reports to the local bird club and I believe is taking part in the Bird Atlas by submitting roving reports.
As I was finishing my work on my wip for the day, I suddenly heard a loud screeching call. My dh came in from the garden to report that a tawny owl had flown directly over his head and he could see the markings. We apparently have two in the dene and they were calling to each other. Tawny owls have an almost unearthly cry. They fly on silent wings.
My wip is coming on. My editors definitely have good eyes...