Most of our nesting boxes are now full. When I’m walking around the farm, passing the boxes as I go, I can hear the urgent cheap-cheap of little chicks waiting for their next feed.
One of the most exciting things this year is that we have buzzards nesting in Dean Wood and in the shaw (the wet woodland down by Meadow Keeper’s Cottage). We’ve always had them as visitors to the farm, but it’s the first time we’ve seen them nesting here. The site in the Shaw appears to be newly attractive to them as a happy consequence of the storm damage we suffered back in February. Storm Eunice left some trees in a dangerous state and in making the area safe again we’ve inadvertently exposed a good flight line into the shaw, and the buzzards seem to enjoy using the tall, pollarded area of trees as viewing posts. We regularly see them as we drive guests down to the cabins or MeadowKeeper’s Cottage and the sight of them taking off and flying in front of us is nothing short of breath-taking – their wingspans are incredible! A young visitor to the farm the other day exclaimed ‘WOW IT’S AN EAGLE’ when he saw it! Not quite – but pretty impressive none the less!
There are baby rabbits wherever you look, lots of voles and weasels scurrying around, and the meadows are starting their flowering season. I’ve decided to do a little meadow-watch series of posts on Instagram so you can follow the progress of the meadows week by week if you’re keen to learn more!
The swallows are back and have nested in the barn as they always do. Hearing them chatter is one of my most favourite things. We’ve a wren nesting in the BBQ supplies shed at The Cabins – guests are warned to be careful and quiet around her, and she seems to be getting on just fine. We’ve a coal-tit nesting in the box surrounding the standpipe at Longview. She’s not daft – it’s off the ground and so safe from predators, the sheep’s wool insulation inside is perfect nesting material, and she doesn’t mind if we carefully reach in to turn the tap on and off when we’re filling the hot tub. She’s sitting on 7 eggs, and we’ve named her Margaret. Our returning Moorhen - Janet - lives on the pond at Meadow Keeper's Cottage and has hatched four little chicks in the past few days, they were happily enjoying a swimming lesson on the pond when I was down there earlier.
The bluebells are looking absolutely stunning too. Droves of blue throughout the woods and the most heavenly scent surrounds you as you walk along the paths.
I can never be pinned down to a favourite season as I’m always too much enraptured of the season we’re in rather than hankering for another. So right now, late Spring is exactly the season I need – lots of colour, birdsong, new life and growth. Perfect.