Much to cheer us this month. The trees are really greening up, blossom is everywhere – this in School Lane. The rain has come at last and it’s warming up a bit. The early dirth of insects must surely ease now – breeding birds have had a tough time – but now they‘re thriving, and very busy!  I’m delighted to report greenfinches here again, so fingers crossed we can keep that virus at bay. (Note to self, deep-clean feeders now!)  We’ve seen swallows, with good reports of numbers elsewhere. A little owl turned up in a neighbour’s garden and stayed just long enough to pose for this nice picture. Meanwhile we wait and hope for our house-martins’ return….

Our resident goldcrest now seems obsessed by cars. Such a beautiful tiny bird – he has spent hours bumping on windows and wing mirrors, even perching inside Wildlife Alan’s van one day, leaving minute reminders that he’d been! He was so intent I could get incredibly close – hence these pictures. We think he’s without a mate, and seeing his reflection as a rival perhaps?   He’s obviously alone, and we fear he might be the last of the line here.

Meanwhile up near Loxwood they have a camera in their barn owl box. Their description of this picture of an early visitor made me laugh  “a marshmallow sitting on a cloud” I hope you can see it – it’s lifted from their screen. That owl was soon replaced, rather unexpectedly, by a Mandarin duck! She has 12 eggs, and a very smart male up in a tree nearby, seeing to her every need. Those ducklings will have to brave the leap to freedom. Luckily they’re very small and light, so will survive.

And – grrr – last week Alan watched a cuckoo fly across our garden, stop on an oak branch, call twice, and fly on–And we’d had to go to London! Missed it all! (but so fantastic it was here) To make up for that I had a lovely walk in woods near Kirdford with a nightingale singing in the daytime–bluebells galore, punctuated by many early purple orchids – a gorgeous picture. And evidence of badgers thriving there too. A walk to warm the heart!

Lastly, apparently a pure white deer has appeared in Bedham, so walkers keep your eyes peeled – pictures always welcome!

Sue J