Winter 2007/8

And so to another weather report! A winter of rain which filled the ponds and flooded the rides, frost making it all look so pretty and Christmas cardy, and sunshine which made it really feel like spring. The skylarks have been singing and there has been at least one snipe on the ponds every time we visited. The buzzards and kestrels have been active but not always very visibly. Mice (or voles or shrews or whatever) have been squeaking in the grass. In fact, it has not been a severe winter overall and the wildlife has been very much in evidence.

The trees have been resting, as they do over winter. But that does not apply to human activity. We pruned Oat Field trees back in the autumn and finished Rye Field. A few trees are done in Big Field, but as I write this in mid February the sap is rising so perhaps we'd better stop now. A hedge has been laid, one that was so badly grown out that it was a horrid job to restore it, but now it looks really neat and will quickly grow into a good place for birds to nest.

The Crack Willows along the stream have been pollarded: an ancient method of tree management that will prolong their lives. In fact, it was fortunate that we did this when we did because one of the willows was starting to split in half down the trunk. Hopefully it is now rescued. We trimmed the new hedge that runs by the trackway leading into Big Field. Now the trees in that hedge are standing proud and it is starting to look like a real grown-up hedge. Unfortunately I mistook a couple of Crab apples for Hawthorn, but they should grow up again if given the chance.

So now we look forward to more signs of spring. No frog or toad spawn yet and there are no flowers. But one Hawthorn had already burst its leaf buds the other day, so spring is definitely coming.