In March, the grass is growing, gardens and greens are full of daffodils, the budding trees are russet-fringed and willows are in bright leaf. The muted, early spring palette, laced with white and pink cherry blossom, is filled with promise. The old estate at Little Barford near St Neots provides a set of postcards of the early spring countryside in lowland England. The sounds are of rooks back in the rookeries and jackdaws commuting to the short-grazed pastures. Peregrines from the nearby power station, screech and ‘hang over’, the smaller male above the female; a brief display of a few rapid, twisted stoops provides a glimpse of his shocking acceleration and stunning speed. Later, the female sits hunched on the rail around one of the huge chimneys, waiting for the male to provision her. Red kites and buzzards hang over the woodlands and come down to feed on the abundance of dead rabbits. The rabbits flourish in huge warrens in the soft gravel soils that terrace the river. A barn owl pair nests in the elegant, old barns, along with a clatter of stock doves, and have acres of old grassland over which to hunt. Little egrets and herons pace the floodplain grasslands next to the river Ouse where cormorants fish in the brown, bloated waters.