This is the best time of the year for me, spring is in full bloom and so much is happening in the grounds of Beefayre.Swallows are a daily occurrence here now, although they no longer breed here. It’s such an iconic summer sound, the chattering as they fly low over the lake. We’re also being treated to the frequent antics of our three cygnets. They are growing so quickly now and are already just under a month old. Yesterday, Sylvie their mum, gardened the perimeter of the little lake, literally cutting down new growth of the yellow flag iris until we had hundreds floating around. She then set an example of how to shred the leaves, stripping them into many segments, before eating them. Swans eat 10-12 kilos of vegetation daily, so this is a necessary skill to pass on the the youngsters.The cuckoo is back, although I’ve only heard him very early in the morning but quite frequently which is reassuring. Their populations have been so threatened in recent years, so they are a particularly special summer visitor. Our reed buntings are finally breeding here now, they’ve been holding territory with their unusual call, such a handsome little bird. They’ve been late winter/early spring visitors in recent years, so it’s a real plus to have them finally in residence. As I write this I’m listening to them calling along with the chorus of many others.All our summer leaf warblers are in residence as well, whitethroats, blackcaps, willow warblers, chiffchaff and I heard a lesser whitethroat last week but I’ve not seen him yet! Nuthatches, pied wagtail, mistle and song thrush, green and great spotted woodpecker also breed here, along with an assortment of tits and finches.I feed every day of the year, that’s my start to each day. The birds are always waiting! My house sparrows (we have a healthy colony) love dried meal worms along with the wagtails. The goldfinches adore sunflower seeds, I’ve at least 20, all with voracious appetites! They are a new addition this year along with my jackdaws. Clever, handsome birds but they’re actually quite shy, they are breeding in the dovecote.Another favourite appeared last week, two adult starlings and several young birds. They came to feast and be fed on meal worms by their parents. I’ve recently put up some starling boxes, so hopefully they might become occupied next year.The barn owl makes a frequent appearance but as yet hasn’t used the box I’m so praying for him to occupy. Maybe that’ll be next years treat!My wall of bee boxes are a real hive of activity now, so during the coming month I intend to get to grips with the identification of the various species. This is quite hard, as there are 225 species but they will be the subject of my next blog.