It’s noisy here these days. The birds are in full song now that spring is here. And it’s wonderful. All night long the nightjars (or possibly nightingales) are singing. It’s so weird to hear beautiful birdsong in the pitch black of night. Whenever I get up at night, which is frequently at the moment since I’m a dreadful insomniac these days, I have to open the door to listen. It’s just so magical. At the same time as listening, I’m fending off the cats whose sole aim in life seems to be to get into the house. And the owls hoot during the nighttime hours too.

Hoopoe - a rare visitor

Come morning, those birds stop singing and all the others start up – there are so many different ones. As well as the songbirds, today a pheasant was klaxoning out in one of our fields. A cuckoo joined in, and in the background woodpeckers were energetically battering the trees. Jays and herons croaked as they took off. The other day we even had a hoopoe whooping. Wild ducks quack as they fly over or forage in our fields and swim on our lakes. We wonder if one of our ‘bantlings’ is back. These are the wild ducks our bantam hatched two years ago now. There were five that made it through chickhood, and they all flew off eventually after a few months with us. But a wild duck is in the alpaca field every morning, looking very much at home there, and she’s not as shy of us as wild ones usually are. Perhaps she’s come home.

Spot the guinea pig

Our chickens cluck happily to themselves all day, and turn up the volume sharply when it’s egg laying time. (Well, wouldn’t you?) There are outbursts of aggrieved squawking when a hen finds that someone is already on the current favourite nest so she’s going to have to hang on if possible! And to get away from birds, the guinea pigs chatter contentedly as they run around the garden. We’ve given up putting them in their runs as they always escape, so we simply let them run free all day now. Daft things – they find somewhere to hide, and spend their time there. Their current favourite place is underneath Ruadhri’s Action Man car.

Cows low in the distance, our llamas hum from time to time, and the carp make the occasional splash as they lurch out of the water for an insect on the surface. We rarely have the radio on – there’s more than enough to listen to without it.

Daily snippets for 21 April

Today’s Saint: St Anselme of Canterbury, a monk and philosopher

Famous French person born this day: Michel Rolle, mathematician, in 1652. He was born in Ambert, a town in the Auvergne that I love.

Famous French person who died this day: Jean Racine, playwright, in 1699

Today’s word: oiseau – bird