Directly Christmas and the new year festivities are over and decorations consigned to the loft for another year, I like to buy a couple of bunches of fresh daffodils as there is nothing better for cheering up a bleak January than to introduce a few wild flowers into the house.

Probably as a result of mild weather in December and early January, I've seen a few lawn daisies, an occasional buttercup, and several groups of primroses in flower. Forsythia, mahonia, daphne, gorse and jasmine blossom is appearing while my garden daffodil leaves are already about five inches tall, a very cheerful sight.

Nature Notes: An unexpected feathered visitor

While yellow is the predominant colour at this time of year delicate snowdrops can be found in sheltered spots. Red berries on a variety of shrubs have largely been untouched so far as few redwings were around until a few sharp frosts occurred and temperatures dropped. These winter visitors should now become more visible as winter progresses so redwings and fieldfares will begin to target berries, especially if the ground freezes and earthworms dive deep to avoid the cold.

I'm concerned about the lack of blackbirds in my area so I wonder if there is a problem with this normally common species?