I've always wondered if birds and other forms of wildlife can foretell the onset of a cold spell or an impending storm. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that this may indeed be the case.

For example, the mistlethrush, once named appropriately 'stormcock', is renowned for singing before and during stormy weather. Redwings (pictured) are now beginning to target berry trees, triggered by the recent brief cold snap? Thrushes and blackbirds normally and instinctively leave berry bushes alone for the first few weeks of winter but perhaps now is the time to go for holly, pyrancatha, ivy and mistletoe as other food becomes scarce?

I've never seen so many birds on my feeders before. All the tit family including a scarce but welcome newcomer the marsh tit, nuthatches, robins and goldfinches arrive at dawn and feed almost continuously right up to nightfall. Are they taking precautions to stock up well before an impending harsh winter? It is interesting to speculate.

There is even a little fish named loach which inhabits fast flowing streams but if kept in an aquarium becomes very agitated before a storm arrives, no doubt affected by a drop in barometric pressure?

I wrote earlier this year how my local goldfinches had vanished but they are now back in good numbers with up to six at a time perched for long periods on a single sunflower hearts feeder.

So, is a severe winter waiting in the wings? Now, where did I put those bed socks?