Last month I wrote about frogspawn and my efforts to help with the annual survey. On a lovely, warm Sunday afternoon in March I had the company of friends, whose 4 children gleefully helped to count the clumps of spawn. This month it’s the turn of the toads, which are making their way through the woods to their regular spawning sites. The females will produce strings of spawn which the males fertilise immediately. Two years ago the edges of the little reservoir near Uncllys Farm were black with toad-poles by May, but I think the big fish there took a heavy toll on the numbers. Ponds, left to their own devices, will silt up and fill with vegetation, so one of the winter jobs has been to tackle unwanted plants by pulling out with special long rakes called cromes and by hand. It’s a smelly, muddy but very satisfying job, best done on a warm day.

As the evenings lengthen and warm up, the bats will be out hunting flying insects such as moths and beetles. We put up 50 bat boxes around the farm last month and hope that they will be well used for either daytime resting or breeding. Natural roosting sites include caves, hollow trees and loose bark on trees but, of course, in historic times bats have moved in to houses, churches, barns and the like. Modernisation and a trend towards blocking out wildlife lodgers have reduced these sites, so a little compensation is called for. National records suggest that the numbers of bats are showing some recovery. Our boxes will be monitored monthly just to see how things are going in our corner of the Wyre Forest. We just hope the ever-present bluetits don’t move into them!

Meanwhile, take a look in the fields around the forest for the new lambs and calves, whose uninhibited skipping and bouncing brings jollity to the season.