Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 25 April 1916
A solitary swallow, alternately beating seaward over the sand and drifting downwind above the dunes and golf links, passed me as it coasted along the Wirral shore towards the Lancashire side of the river, but beyond a small party of white wagtails on the shingle and a few silent willow wrens in the bushes inland it was the only summer bird I saw. Further inland, however, more migrants have appeared, for so long ago as Good Friday a friend found four species together on one of the sewage farms of the Upper Irwell, a favourite food and shelter providing spot for incoming birds. Swallows and white wagtails were there, and, in addition, the beautiful canary-coloured yellow wagtails (also reported from further south about the same time). The fourth kind was the sandpiper, long after its average date of arrival, and all of these had arrived during the night of the 20th, for none was visible on the previous day.
The salt-laden breeze from the ruffled waters of Liverpool Bay failed to disturb the bumblebees, which were more active than I had seen them for many weeks. Big, many-banded females whirred from flower to flower, and one plump black-bodied bee poised on whirring wings above the gorse, and as it contemplated each blossom protruded a long flexible tongue and dived under the golden lips; its thighs were orange with pollen. And all the time the tuneful larks, ignoring the wind, filled the air with gladness.
Source: Guardian Environment