At last the fields are dry enough for Tess and I to have an afternoon walk over them. Although there was a sharp wind blowing it was a pleasant afternoon and we set off in fine spirits.
I have to say that there is very little sign of spring yet. In the fields the grass has yet to green up and there is no sign of bud on any of the trees. Even the blackthorn, which is the first to show, seems to be waiting for a few days of warm sunshine.
The hazel catkins are out, although they are sparse on the tree I photographed. Interestingly, underneath the tree are the shells of most of last year's nuts, neatly broken in half (probably by the sharp little teeth of mice), their contents eaten to stave off winter hunger.
Tess led the way along the beck side, watched by numerous rabbits from a safe distance - they are everywhere. The side of the beck in our little plantain is peppered with rabbit holes - there is a large warren there,
While we are on the subject of the plantain, the farmer has seen (and heard) a pair of buzzard in the tree tops and we are hoping that they will nest there this year. They are beautiful birds with their majestic hovering and floating in the air currents and they only take dead carrion so are no threat to small hedgerow birds.
Two pairs of yellow hammers are investigating the hedge where they always lay - and appearing at the bird table to top up on seed throughout the day. They are most welcome.
At the field gate back on to the lane deep golden lichen grows thick on the blackthorn branches - almost the only golden yellow I see on my walk. No sign of celandines and not even a marsh marigold in bud. But I shall keep watching.