A few weeks ago a Tawny owl took up residence in the trees adjacent to the house that we live in on the estate. His plaintive call for a mate all night long has so far been unsuccessful. Owls only have the one partner so either he is a first timer or he has lost his other half. My wife Liz decided to do some internet dating on his behalf but there was only a male long eared owl in Winchester looking for company. Seriously, owls in this part of the world are struggling to compete with the number of Kites who are taking the small mammals that the owls would have had. It is not unusual for 20 or more Kites to follow the combine hoovering up the field mice. We never see seagulls following the cultivator anymore it is always Kites and in large numbers as well. The Kites are beautiful birds to watch and their reintroduction to The Chilterns has been a huge success but at what cost to other birds and small mammals?
As the low pressures rattle across the Atlantic and we clear up from the aftermath of Storm Gareth, the summer, sorry I mean February, is a distant memory. The spring cereals that we planted seem to flatly refuse to emerge into sub 10 degree temperatures. I still think we did the right thing by drilling the drier fields and I am now convinced leaving the clay cap fields in case more black grass emerged was also correct. The winter crops are all looking much greener and on the move now as they take up nitrogen. The area of wheat after the forage maize, which has not had artificial fertiliser, is also greening up as it finds the residual nitrogen from the farm yard manure applied before the maize. The 54mm of rain that we have had so far in March is probably not enough to top up the aquifers but it is enough for now as I need to get back in the fields.
Brexit is certainly not a hoot. I voted to remain but I am appalled at the way our politicians and civil servants appear to have colluded with the EU to frustrate the result of the democratic vote of the referendum. I have heard it likened to ‘Hotel California’ you can check out but you can never leave. Nearly three years and they still can’t sort it out. Not sure how any politician can expect us to engage in the democratic process whilst they treat the voting public like idiots.