One of the most evocative sounds here at this time of the year is the call of the Curlew. The largest of our native waders, you are likely to see it on any beach after the tide has gone out. But when it comes to nesting time a lot of curlew like to nest in our fields and they are already beginning to stake their claims. That 'coorwee, coorwee sound echoes round the fields as I walk round with the farmer.
The trouble is that this year the grass is very slow to grow and is nowhere near ready for a curlew to build a nest, so I do hope they have the sense to wait a bit longer. The chicks are so vulnerable when they first hatch out and are the size of a large bumble bee on long legs - one heavy rain storm and they are suffering, so they really need the shelter of the long grass to survive. There have been times when the farmer has discovered a nest just as he was about to begin silaging and has fenced the nest off with an electric wire to give the birds a chance.
Another bird which nests in the grass is the lapwing with its distinctive 'peewit' call. It is such a beautiful bird and apart from its high-pitched 'pee-wit' call we hardly notice it but a few usually nest in our marshy field.
Lapwings are a bird of lowland and marsh and are a common bird in Lincolnshire, where I originate. There they are coloqually called either tyrrwhit or pyewipe and in both cases have an inn named after them.
Birds are an important part of our lives here on the farm and we watch for them coming at their time each year. This year we still have only two swallows in the barn - most years we have twenty or thirty by now. And as yet there are no house martins in the eaves of the farmhouse - if they don't arrive I shall miss them greatly.