My first late visit turned up no surprises, a decent flock of c600 Woodpigeon in fields and trees northeast of our village were nervous and easily spooked perhaps a consequence of the daily shotgun sounds that have echoed around the farmland every day this week.
Heading back through the mature wooded grounds of Longhirst Hall about 1mile north of our house I was pleased to here a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming, drilling through the heavy Winter air, Morse code for Spring. There were few other signs, partially frozen water beads clung to everything creating miniature galaxies of stars along the darkness of Hawthorn hedges and silvery extensions to very stem, branch and blade.
Look hard enough though and the first signs are there, the snow having retreated revealing its namesake amongst the soft rotting leaves. Steve Gale has some interesting background on Snowdrops today