If this be spring, then roll on winter!

​This year, Easter is early but winter seems intent on running late. Easter eggs have been in the shops since January and hot-cross buns are available throughout the year.

All this may be confusing enough for us but the prolonged cold, dull wet conditions are far from ideal for birds beginning nesting activities now. Many grassland areas are under water, bad news for ground nesting birds including skylarks and meadow pipits.

Freezing weather and hard frosts can crack eggs in nests of songbirds and late leafing shrubs will not hide nests within. It is fortunate that many species can produce two or three broods each spring so failed early broods are less critical for them while hole-nesting birds that lay once including great and bluetits are somewhat better protected. This is an area where we can help by installing nest boxes in our gardens.

Nevertheless, on a happier note, early nesting species like herons and Egyptian geese are already showing off hatched young with fluffy chicks from the latter growing rapidly and running around following parents.

Robins love garden centres, spending winter under glass finding easy access. Some even nest around the centres building for instance in hanging baskets. Nests are often found in odd places, the robin's nest pictured housed in a large upright flowerpot.

So, have a cracking Easter everyone.