For the fifth February running we walk round the same two fields at Broadwell on the Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire border. I am joined by Doug, the new farm manager, and Annabel, one of the owners. The fields are typical of the area, one arable and one pasture, bordered by the village, a lane, a stream and an old fishpond, with mature hedges and a game strip. I shut my eyes and call out what I can hear-greenfinches on song flight, a chaffinch by the pond, a couple of robins and a dunnock, a mewing buzzard, rooks at their nests and jackdaws around the church tower. Annabel has logged seven species on her clipboard before we see a bird. As usual we choose a time when the forecast is mostly clear, but soon the wind gets up, the sky darkens, hoods go up and we are in the middle of the day's only squall. As we reach the game strip birds are sheltering silently, and the next few minutes of our half hour produce only a few wind-blown rooks and a blackbird cackling its alarm. It soon blows over and small groups of linnets, chaffinches and yellowhammers spurt up into the hedge in front of us. A couple of egrets fly into the grass field, and a red kite slowly flies across it; now common birds, thirty years ago scarcely any farm in the country would have hosted either. The sun peeps through and skylarks start to sing - like many specialist farmland birds their fortunes have gone the other way.