Apart from my local crow family, the avian world has been quiet for the past few weeks with barely a tweet or a twitter from any bird.

Thankfully, even parakeets remained relatively non-vocal!

With nesting activities over and territory - holding no longer a priority birds need to remain quiet as they enter a period of 'eclipse', or summer moult, during which time flight capabilities are reduced and they tend to skulk about and not draw attention to themselves.

Of course, we can still listen to birdsong just by tuning into any TV soap where, in outdoor scenes, producers superimpose out of season birdsong tapes onto the sound tracks!

However, the first bird to resume real singing is the robin (pictured) who even now is re-establishing his winter territory and serenading us at first light and indeed, throughout the day and sometimes night so that he is often mistaken for a nightingale. We can enjoy his, or her song (both sexes sing) without a break for the next seven months; a rather plaintive ditty that is somewhat appropriate as we drift reluctantly into autumn.

I call one of my local birds the 'ragged robin' as all this year he, or she, has been completely bald and vulture-like. Hopefully the bird will regrow a new set of feathers in common with other species as they clothe themselves in fresh plumage.

By October, maybe missel and song thrushes will join the robins as dawn approaches and remind us that spring is not that far away.