Parakeets recently entered the avian version of the Eurovision song contest but predictably their yelping offering came last, scoring 'nil points'!

Had he been around, my favourite songster, the song thrush would have won, even beating the nightingale, but sadly he seems to be in free fall and I have not heard one singing this spring.

Nature Notes: Enjoying the spring butterflies

Fortunately his cousin, the mistle thrush, sings his strident song in the early morning and at intervals throughout the day. Although his offering is nowhere near as melodious and he always seems to me to be practicing but never quite gets his song right!

There are fewer blackbirds around this year too, with just one performing in my immediate area (pictured). Other birds scoring points in the song contest include my local robin who begins singing at 4am and continues all day, while others such as blackcap, skylark, chaffinch and goldfinch are all worthy contenders.

Nature Notes: All about the 'perfect' fish

Although we can't call it a song, the joyful screaming of swifts wheeling around overhead is a very evocative summer sound and would surely score points but unfortunately their numbers are well down this year.

I've only seen three swifts locally, just three pairs skimming my local lake and an eerily quiet sky compared with dozens ten years ago.

This is due to a decline in flying insects and spiderlings wafting aloft, plus a reduction in nesting sites as buildings block up roof spaces for insulating purposes, thus preventing the birds from entering.