SPRING is in the air and so are our bees. Most of their hives are sheltered in the wood, but a couple are sited in our paddock.

Those bees, close to home, are making the most of my pots of flowers sited around the yard. Before now these pots have mainly consisted of foliage but over the last few weeks they have burst into colour as the bulbs I filled them with in the autumn, have come into flower.

During winter John has made sure each hive had a good supply of fondant - a mix of natural sugars, glucose and fructose that we feed the bees in the coldest months to survive any food shortages. And although this winter has been warmer and wetter than normal, there hasn’t necessarily been more nectar flow to feed the bees if they ventured out.

Normally bees cluster together in the hive to stay warm over the winter months. Since they are not out flying around, they do not use much energy and so don’t eat as much of the stored honey or the fondant.

If the winter is warm, as it has been this year, the bees will naturally want to fly and forage. The problem is that in a warm winter there isn’t always much to find. So, they come back to the hive and eat more of the stored honey and fondant.

Elsewhere spring flowers are the last thing on the mind of our lovelorn ducks who waddle up from their pond in the paddock cavorting with each other in a most unseemly manner.

At our other pond near the wood, the geese have paired up and are busy nest building. Also the curlews have returned to the grass fields and are calling to each other.

At our bird table a family of long tail tits are clearly building their energy up by devouring the fat balls we provide. But to raise a family in safety you need a secure home.

My friend Viv has despaired that the des res she has provided for a potential avian nest builder, has remained empty.

A spot of house clearance ejected several spiders that had moved in, but still no feathered families. What to do? Guidance was sought from my avian expert friend Steph, and practical help from her husband Alan.

After scrutinising the prospective family home via WhatsApp, Alan decided that the entrance was too large. Instead of tempting great tits and flycatchers, or even house sparrows and nuthatches, this entrance was ample size for a starling.

Not what Viv wanted. Through the post came a cleverly created entrance hole reducer. Nailed into place and now only offering a hole the size that a tiny tit could access.