Even in the so-called dead of winter, there are signs of spring. The earliest of spring flowers are showing. Many of the birds which visit out garden are already paired up and seeking territories and nest sites. Robins are singing. Tawny owls are calling. Avian disputes over territory are routine. Resident mammals are making the best of what is on offer but look fit and healthy as the days lengthen.
In south-west England the maritime climate gives us mostly mild winters with few frosts. Just before Christmas I counted 47 plant species in flower. On milder days there were bumblebees, flies and even occasional butterflies using the nectar sources. With the new year, the first significant cold spell has arrived as continental northerly and easterly airstreams have hit.
Garden bird feeders attract a diversity of bird species and also mammals which glean fallen seeds from the sunflower feeders.
One morning in early winter two foxes, probably siblings from the local litter of 2020, were playing peek-a-boo through the white stemmed birch. I grabbed my old Canon SX60, which I keep upstairs for opportunist shots. I struggled, not very successfully, to focus on moving targets in lousy light through the branches of an obscuring shrub. It is only because it was such charming behaviour that I dare include the poor photo here.