December 2015 proved to be one of the mildest on record, with the result that many spring plants had started to emerge, and insects which should have been hibernating were still available for insectivorous birds, mammals and amphibians. The New Year has heralded a change, and along with the wind and rain, we have had a number of cold snaps and some snow. Until recently the birds in my garden had been limited to my resident Robin and Blackbird, and my pair of Bullfinches. According to the RSPB Complete Guide to Birds of Britain and Europe, the Bullfinch ‘does not visit bird-tables or feeders.’ I can attest to never having seen them on or near any food I have put out in the winter – whether this is because it wasn’t to their liking or because these quiet birds do not mix with other species, I don’t know. Luckily my scruffy gardening habits supports this beautiful couple – dandelion seeds in the spring and seed heads from Hypericum in the winter.