During the first week in February the weather became a little milder. That factor coupled even more importantly with the gradual but noticeable increase in daylight hours prompted a few songbirds to tentatively rehearse  their spring repertoires.

On 6th Feb I listened to my favourite avian songster the songthrush (pictured) perform his delightfully varied range of dual phrases perched high in trees bordering the Waitrose carpark at Raynes Park. A truly magical few moments.

My garden blackbird has uttered a few notes at first light before alighting on the lawn to pick off a few worms but no proper song yet.

He is remarkably agile for he has mastered the trick of perching on top of the sunflower heart feeder and bending down to extract some seeds, not easy for a larger bird.

Dunnocks are voicing their brief scratchy 'songs' and always seem to want to perform them as rapidly as possible. Wrens too are rattling off their deliveries, so loud for such a tiny bird.

I estimate there are seven robin territories locally, their owners singing at all hours, night and day. Unusually for birds, both males and females sing so it is difficult for us to know which is which as both sexes are similar.

More signs that spring is waiting in the wings is that many black headed gulls are now sporting completely black, or in reality dark chocolate brown heads while magpies group together bickering, as many as eight in a tree on one occasion as they choose territories and mates and the first migrant chiffchaffs have arrived.