Curlews can be heard, their call evocative and so heart-warming, occasionally seen standing proud in the meadows. Oystercatchers, meadow pipits, sandpipers and hopefully in amongst the piping, whistling and pee-whits, perhaps a few twite are still hanging on.
Those that claim our uplands are vast deserts devoid of any wildlife, stripped of flora and fauna have clearly never sat and listened.
I can only presume they walk around with their eyes wide shut, oblivious to our moorland inhabitants. As well as the beloved Pennine birds, our regular visitors have started to return, in their numbers.
From across the motorway, I can hear the expletives pouring from my husband’s lips, I can feel the heat coming from his boiling blood and reddened cheeks as he drives his quad bike amongst the ewes and lambs, dodging great piles of wild Canada geese muck.
They strut arrogantly up and down, completely oblivious to the mad farmer, silently plotting their demise as he drives on by, staring through bulging eyes at the muck and chunks of grass, torn out by the roots.
They make little attempt to move out of his way, this is their patch and no amount of cursing will oust them. I can understand his rage, they devour the sparse and desperately needed grass at a critical time of year and really do get in the way, yet I can’t help but smile when I see them.
I love watching them coming into landing on the reservoir, their great honks and barks a welcome distraction from the ever-present drone of the motorway traffic.
Lambing time is doing what it does best. We’re exhausted, irritable and despite the surrounding fields starting to fill with new life, still don’t feel like we’re up to speed. The weather hasn’t been kind, a nasty drop in temperature plus torrential downpours is a disastrous combination for lambs.
The heater box has been busy, cold, sodden bodies in, warm, revived ones out. Not all have been lucky enough to make it under the heat lamp though, some have succumbed to the elements during the night.
It doesn’t matter how many spring lambings you go through, how much death and disaster you experience, that horrible feeling that bears down on you when you find a ewe has hung her lamb or one has never taken its first breath or frozen to death never goes away. It never dulls with the passing of the years.
I drove home one evening under the most confused yet beautiful sky. The sun lit up the Deanhead valley giving it an ethereal glow whilst away to the South, heavily laden storm clouds swept across the hills covering them in sleet.
We paused to watch a short-eared owl hunting, its wings luminous in the sunlight. It was a wonderful moment to share with the little guy, a reminder of how lucky we are to be here.