Whilst of course it is exciting to travel on safari to see exotic creatures, there is so much to enjoy just outside our windows.

Within a hundred metres or so of my house a lot is going on during the coldest spring for over fifty years.

The day begins before 4am when the local blackbirds commence chanting. At the bottom of the garden magpies have noisily set up home in a tall leylandii. Fifty metres beyond in an adjacent tree-lined road all the plane trees were recently drastically cut back to trunk and main boughs.

However, at the crown of one tree sits a crow's nest, now devoid of top cover which I thought had been deserted but had kindly been untouched by the tree surgeons. Now, three fledglings stand on the nest flexing wings prior to take off. Needless to say, magpies and crows don't see beak to beak!

Meanwhile, during rare sunny spells swifts speed by screaming, zooming up into nest cavities in a tall house nearby while large flocks of colourful goldfinches utter canary - like calls as they flit from tree to tree.

Starlings 'churrr' on chimney pots; chaffinches and wrens sing; dunnocks deliver hurried jumbles of notes as if they wish to get it over quickly and robins quarter the lawn.

Dainty holly blue butterflies (pictured) chase one another as females lay eggs on my pyracantha. In the pond, tadpoles grow rapidly; pond skaters glide; damselflies emerge two weeks late; newts curl up plants in which to lay eggs and frogs hop about in the rain. Sometimes I don't know which way to turn to ensure I miss nothing in my own miniature nature reserve which yields so much of interest.