Take a deep breath..

Take a deep breath because Spring is nearly here! You can see and feel it everywhere as you take a walk around the woods – and taking a walk is something I’ve been able to do this week, as the workload is falling off and we look forward to enjoying the wood rather than just working in it.

We tried putting in a seed feeder in the Autumn, but the squirrels stole all the seeds and buried them – so I guess we might have some rogue sunflowers in the wood this year! Another attempt this Spring has so far been ignored by squirrels, and it is alive with lovely little birds. Huge numbers of blue tits and great tits are moving in for a good feast, along with nuthatches (pictured left), bulfinches and chaffinches, and long-tailed tits too.

And as you walk round the woods, the birds have started singing – not just twittering away, but really singing their territory, and disputing it too. Everywhere you go, there is the sound of the great tit (pictured left), like a wonky supermarket trolley wheel, from the tops of the trees. “This is MY tree” they all seem to be saying, all with their unique and slightly different interpretation of the wonky wheel song.

The wrens are angrily and loudly protesting at your presence in the wood near their chosen nest site. The robins have put aside their temporary truce of a few weeks ago, when we saw four of them together enjoying the pickings after our coppicing activity. None of that now – they are all staking their claim and making sure of their territory for the weeks ahead.

Green woodpeckers are drumming on the trees, as well as making their characteristic “yaffle” calls. Great-spotted woodpeckers have been seen near the site where they have nested for the last two years. A pair of jays are shrieking in a primeval way around our clearing. Treecreepers and nuthatches are staking out their favourite trees and ensuring that everybody knows that is their home.

We hope we have improved the prospects for some of these little birds, with our additional nest boxes – now there are 31, in all parts of the wood, with various sized holes for a variety of different birds to use. A hedgehog box (pictured left) has also been installed, beautifully made and kindly donated by our neighbour.

There are just a few buds swelling and a couple starting to burst on the very earliest trees. There is an impressive display of hazel catkins. A few diving beetles and other insects can be seen swimming in the ponds which for so long have been frozen, and apparently lifeless. And best of all the bluebells are starting to poke little green shoots above the soil! In April the wood will have a blue carpet, and I can’t wait to see it in all its glory.

So, take a deep breath! The birds are taking a deep breath and singing. And I am taking a deep breath and waiting for Spring.

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