In between heavy showers I've been out working in the garden this afternoon. Deep in concentration I didn't at first register the sound that I was hearing, but then my hearing zeroed in on - a swift's shrill scream.
And there in the grey sky over the valley was a single swift, flying high and fast. It has spent the rest of the day buzzing our house, which has me hoping that we'll have a swift nest over our birthday again this summer.
Looking at the diary I've kept since we moved here it looks like the first swift of the year has usually turned up in the first week of May. The earliest arrival time I've noted is May 1 and the latest - in 2007 - was May 8.
So, everything is pretty much running to schedule. Shame this year's first bird has to arrive to such wet and dismal weather.