How brilliant have been the colours of spring this year. The warm weather over Easter and since triggered a rapid response from trees in bud, together with cherry, lilac and hawthorn blossom.

Suddenly, over a period of just three days leaves unfurled to herald spring's awakening with vibrant fresh green foliage set against a cloudless blue sky. Even horse chestnuts displayed their 'candles' earlier than usual.

Below in an understorey of frothy white cow parsley, or Queen Anne's lace as I prefer to call it, bluebells, alkanet, massed lawn daisies and buttercups appeared while birdsong was very noticeable. My local blackbird sang throughout each day over Easter, all adding up to just the tonic we all need.

However, there is one essential component of spring sadly missing, notably the cuckoo. When I was a boy the call of the cuckoo was synonymous with spring, an integral accepted and indeed expected part of the season from April to June. Unfortunately those iconic dual notes are rarely heard down south and the last time I listened to one in my area was twenty years ago although I believe they are clinging on up north. Another brilliant vocalist the song thrush is also very scarce and I have not heard one since December.

But, any day now we will welcome the swifts. I always scan the skies from late April to catch sight of those scimitar shaped wings as they wheel and turn above, seeming to scream in delight at their return.

(Pictured is a cuckoo).