Although spring is officially here, and the weather is still relatively mild, land remains very wet from the prolonged soaking through winter and the frequent showers recently, so it is a case of being patient - something I am not good at.

Nitrogen fertiliser including Sulphur, has been applied to all of the crops, but cereal growth is slow. OSR (Canola) is growing steadily but has not put on the normal spring burst of growth yet. Some spring barley has been sown, the varieties being Waggon and Scholar. Both are feed varieties where extra yield makes up for quality bonuses (if any) when growing varieties destined for malting. Some extra seed has been purchased as I will have to re-sow 8ha (20 ac) of OSR which was late drilled in a wet field by the river and never really got moving. Slugs and waterlogging killed off the low lying part of the field. Unusually Wood Pigeons have not been a major problem indicating food is available elsewhere.

Moles have been a problem as I assume worms have continued to move around in the warmer soils. Over 50 have been trapped in the grassland but they have provided some extra meals for the Kestrel and Barn Owls round the farm steading. Birds in general are full of song and in really good condition, so I hope they have a good breeding season. Many of the nestboxes erected last year are in use already, particularly by House Sparrows around the buildings. The Mallard are back on the pond - the male spends most of his day sleeping on the bank so I assume the duck is sitting on eggs. The Kestrels are back and the camera is on the nest box. A majority of the regular nest sites are being tidied up by prospective parents. No Swallows yet, but as they normally arrive Woodland in Marchmid-April (average date 16th) it will be interesting to see if they are earlier this year.

I walk round the farm at least weekly and visited my favourite piece of woodland - 'untidy' with dead trees on the ground, but alive with insects, small mammals and birds. Sitting for a few minutes on a lovely spring day was so satisfying as the wildlife carried on, ignoring me. I was more surprised further on to find a wagon roof which had presumably arrived in the recent gales. I can't really call it fly-tipping but I claim salvage. Wagon Roof