May has to be, in my opinion at least, easily the best month of the year. Intense, fresh greenery everywhere, May blossom, fruit tree blossom, great fields of golden rape, young of birds and animals - what is there to dislike.
May blossom along the reserve's boundary hedge
A ditch, one of the reserve's vital arteries
The main talking point this last couple of weeks has been the speed at which the grass has grown on the grazing meadows of the reserve. In an ideal world these fields should be grazed to a much shorter sward in order to suit the needs of the ground nesting birds such as Lapwings.
The grazier has a few dozen cattle and their calves on the reserve but they're currently making little impression on the grass. Very soon however, more will be rushed out from the winter stock pens and how delighted they will be to see sunshine and lovely green grass.
The two main breeding species on the reserve, Lapwings and Redshanks, are doing well, although we are still losing some Lapwing chicks to predation. Given that Redshanks prefer to put their nests in tufts of grass, it's possible that the longer conditions are suiting them at the moment and it'll be surprising if they don't top the Lapwings in respect of breeding pairs this year. Avocet breeding pairs are at the same good levels as last year and once again it just needs to see how many chicks survive the predators. Elsewhere, Reed Warblers and Yellow Wagtail pairs are so far, down on last year but late arrivals can quickly turn this round.
In the meantime the wind-pump does it's daily job of keeping the ditches replenished with good fresh water from the underground aquifer, another benefit for the livestock.