I think it's started

One swallow doesn't make a summer, but I saw a whole squadron this evening - and probably not coincidentally, bats are being attracted to the warm outside walls. Why is this significant? Well, here, up north, they are three weeks later than normal. They only arrive when they sense that there are insects in the air, and the insects only arrive when the trees are in blossom. My fruit trees are hardly in bud, I expect the birds and the bats haven't got it wrong. They've got more experience thgan I have!

That figures- they arrived here, 20 miles from the coast of Finistere, on Tuesday afternoon. So about a day and a half to cross the sea seems about right. I have got my cricket sweater on to celebrate the arrival of summer!

We saw our first swallows today up here in the North, (i.e. Devon). Spring has sprung.

Yes, the swallows have come back to the nest they built just outside one of our upstairs windows last year - we have to open the window very gently so as not startle them. glad that we don't have bats though

Down here in the south the spring indicators; lizards, pollinators and guepes are out in force and I swatted the first big fat housefly of the season this weekend. Apple and cherry not yet in bloom, but a prune sauvage blossomed and is now starting to set fruit I am going ahead this week and finishing planting the kitchen garden in hopes that there are no frosts left in the winter of 2013. I haven't seen any bats this year, but the swallows are busy nesting in a friend's old barn that I visited Saturday. And, yes, its a bumper crop of dandelions this year. Everyone says they are delicious in salads, but it must be an acquired taste. Acacia and oak off to a slow start but the chestnut has buds ready to pop. Poplar in full leaf.

I saw my first swallow of the year at the weekend and the dandelions are in bud. But no blossom yet here in 45 and I haven't heard a cuckoo either.

Definitly started here, though two weeks ago we had snow i managed to cut the grass yesterday but the ground is still wet, the dandilions must have ducked as the garden is a mass of yellow this morning, the trees appear to be about normal as being at 2000ft we are always a little later than the trees down in the town its always at least 3 degs lower here primroses are still a mass of flowers, soon be time to order next winters wood we learned our lesson the winter of 2010/11 cutting wood in January is no fun stagger the delivery over the coming months then its stacked and drying over the summer cutting in August is the exact opposite to January

Here in the Haut Var spring has definitely sprung but no cuckoos yet. The first irises spotted on a bank last Sunday.

Cuckoos have returned to the Gers, I'm sure they have French accents.

No swallows yet on top of a hill in Finistere!

Cuckoo has been here for about four weeks already, hoopoes over two as well. Violets have been finished here for well over two weeks, three in some places. The thing that was strange was our aconites flowered two weeks ago and right now I see bluebells and roses opening at the same time! Everything seems out of kilter.

Here in Sud Vendee there are cowslips, violets and primroses, and masses of dandelions. I have seen huge bumblebees, a couple of wasps, and a very early lizard. In the last couple of days the temperature has soared,and the cantata of cultivators and lawn mowers is heard all around. The early evening "pong" of bonfires tells me that a very late Spring has arrived. Enfin !

Here in 71we have one swallow!

We have the cuckoo and we have heard and I have seen a hoopoe.

There are cowslips and violets in the lanes and the blackthorn is out, I am waiting for the cherry blossom which makes the countryside look as though it is covered in lace. I hope that at the blozssom is so late this year it will not be killed off by ther frost. No cherries at last year.

Yup I think it's started here too in Gironde, , not because of swallows, but the nightly orchestra of frogs & toads this last fortnight, oh & hay fever due to lilac trees

serious?? wow, We've had a difficult winter here, with thawing and freezing about 3 or 4 times.... bees in the area are struggling, they came out of wintering too soon, and were hit by freezes.

Our bees are still in the Var, but they'll have to come up soon... as soon as we find enough of anything for 300 hives! Farmers are saying that most crops will be "tardives" this year, but even the accacias are late.

birds, we have all our birds back already, they're all hanging around our window-sills, pooping on my tomato plants, and eating the seed/grease balls we leave out for them. So refreshing, apart from that bit at 5am when they decide they would like to sing you the song of their people.

Our garden and a horse paddock have become a sea of dandelions over the last week. Blackthorn in full bloom. No blossom on any of the fruit trees yet.

We have more dandelions than we want this year, as for cowslips and primroses... The next explosion we will have soon is poppies. After blossom being a lot but short this year, although we have quinces as of this morning and apples pushing open, the order seems very strange to me.

We're watching the patches of primroses, wondering why they are still here... need dandilions for our bees, and despite searching in all our usual haunts, and going further afield, none can be found "soon, soon", the farmers say, assuring us that they will be the best candidates to leave our beehives wiht, but even the canola is late (not that many keepers WANT canola)

This is the third year in a row everything is off kilter, and I can only close my eyes and hope that dandilions start popping flowers soon.

Saw my first Swallow of the season, yesterday afternoon.

At last, a day when my OH didn't have to chop wood ;) I hesitate to say the words, don't want to jinx anything !!