Most people seem to take dogs with them when they go for a lunchtime walk over Henley-in-Arden's Mount. Me? I take my ears.
"Chiff chaff, chiff chaff" - there's no mistaking the first song that I hear upon leaving the road via a narrow stream-side path. "Chiff chaff, chiff chaff, chiff chiff chaff", interspaced with a few quieter "Hooweet, hooweet" calls. The chiffchaffs are at their most active having only arrived back from East Africa in the last couple of weeks.
"Chiz...chiz, chizzik" - not the more familiar pied wagtail, but a grey wagtail, an exploding ball of brilliant yellow that explodes past me from the stream. Soon he is gone, and a blue tit keeps me company along the rest of the waterside path, "tic tic tic, tic tic tic", and other variations along a three-note theme.
My head snaps left at the near and distinctive cackling call of Yaffle, aka a green woodpecker. Ahead of me is a bright, but silent, jay, and high above are the mewing calls of unseen buzzards.
From here the 'squeaky wheel' calls of great tits start to cut across everything until, that is, they are trumped by the strident repetitions of a song thrush. Accompaniment comes from wood pigeons on bass, blackbirds on melody lead, but sadly no great spotted woodpecker for drums. Perhaps the 'tack tack tack' of the robin can lay down a suitable beat?
As I leave the path and head back onto tarmac it is left to the finches to say goodbye, the 'bowler's action' song of the chaffinch (step, step, step, skip-skip-skip-skip arm oooovvvverrrr) and the "cheeeeeeeeeezzzzzzz" of the greenfinch sending me smiling on my way.