Suddenly, the long-tailed tits and coal tits are back in our garden. The long-tailed tits come in small, excitable flocks, their arrival heralded by their 'tsee tsee' contact calls, their little pinkish bodies crowding the damson tree and dipping across to the cherry near the house. They are lovely, gregarious visitors, although their crowning achievement - their amazing, teardrop-
shaped nests, made from hair and cobwebs and camouflaged with lichen - have not so far been built in our garden, more's the pity.
And our coal tits are back, hitting the bird feeder on the French windows with a little thud as they ply back and forth for sunflower seeds, their particular weakness. It's one of the only birds brave enough to come so close to the house, although blue tits will join them occasionally, and when we had a nut feeder there too it was plundered by jays. The spadgers, though, they just won't do it, and so the shy coal tit pair has the run of the window feeder, and if we are in the living room and hear a little thud and scrabble, we keep extra still so that the coal tit has time to grab a seed before taking fright and making for the cover of the cotoneaster again.