One of the real joys of January is what feels like the almost overnight re-emergence of the birds.
It occurs to me pretty much every year that the birds seem to see the end of our Christmas celebrations as their cue for bursting into song - lifting our spirits and announcing the idea of spring many weeks before it will actually arive.
They bring me moments of joy throughout these dark weeks.
As I leave the house for work I am greeted most mornings by the rapping of great spotted woodpeckers looking for partners and territory.
I stopped last week to watch and listen to the blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, blackbirds and more from a narrow footbridge over the Henley-in-Arden stream. It was already a lovely lunchtime moment, but became so much more so when a tiny, mouse-like treecreeper flew to a tree trunk just yards from me and started to spiral upwards.
Fishing trips (of which another post shortly) are accompanied by the most amazing symphonies - today it was jackdaws, fieldfare, great tits and a superb song thrush.
And when you go out of your way to find the birds, as we did last weekend with a family trip to Brandon, they are there in numbers - there is not better time than a sunny January day for watching our brilliant wildfowl for example, from the exquisite teal to the whistling wigeon to the beautiful but faintly absurd shoveller.