The herd was back in the North Pasture when I arrived this morning, apart from Kevin the teenager who was grazing the Swamp Field all on his ownsome. I checked North Pond for signs of the toad breeding invasion which is about to happen, but didn’t find any; the best time to check is in the evening: their eyes light up in the beam of my head torch. It’s a bit early for the toads, they start to trickle into North Pond around the 9th March, but I wondered if the mild weather might encourage them to move earlier.
The herons will dine on a plentiful supply of toads soon; they bite their heads off and turn them inside out to eat – their skins are not tasty.
Within a couple of minutes of my arrival in North Pond Field, I heard the bellowing shriek of Rose; her high-pitched call goes right through me. In no time at all, the herd was milling around and teasing green grass from difficult to get to nooks and crannies. I’m glad to report that there was no physical or verbal pressure from Waynetta this morning. The herd nearly always trot along to say hello when they see me approach.
Although grass and other vegetation is now growing steadily, the only blooms about are a few lesser celandine and daffodils. I saw a tortoiseshell butterfly and a bee yesterday. The only other insects I’ve seen recently are gnats and mossies.
I haven’t found a fox den yet; the vixen might be using a vacant badger sett. There are a lot of muntjac deer tracks about, though. The ground is getting firmer under foot. Nettles are 150mm high. Thistles are popping up everywhere, as are docks and comfrey. It’s looking good!