One of the early heralds of a new spring is the Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Even now in the depths of January, the GSW is already making preparations for the coming season, marking out his territory and advertising for a new mate.
The way they do this is by 'drumming' on tree trunks, rapidly banging their bills to create a noise not unlike a wooden ruler being twanged off the end of a desk.
I've heard this from my back garden for the last couple of weeks, and as I stood and watched my garden feeders this morning I finally caught sight of the bird himself. This was a garden first, and very exciting - even more so for having a camera to hand (the pictures were taken through the window on a foggy morning, so not bad considering).
A patch of red on the back of the head (just visible in this photo) means this is definitely a male by the way.