Spring is anything up to four weeks in advance of what we left behind in England. The wild flowers we found in full bloom during our trek around the Mervant woods included Herb Robert, the field Geranium, glorious fields of buttercups and the little Bladder Campion, much prettier than its name suggests. Bird life is also varied, with warblers heard but not seen around Mervant where we also heard our first Cuckoo of the year. There was a variety of waders, including Avocets, on the oyster beds on Ile de Re, swifts in abundance over the fields and frequent sightings of the local St Valerien Hen Harriers, a striking bird of prey which is rare in the UK due to the actions of gamekeepers. Here they seem to thrive, no doubt at the expense of some of those swifts!