'Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is a new bird'. So runs a line of a Christmas song.

Well, here to stay for a while at least are our welcome winter visiting 'new birds'

For several weeks I have enjoyed watching flocks of Scandinavian redwings flying around searching for berried treasure among holly, pyracantha and hawthorn, including one huge flight of about a hundred at Wisley on New Years day.

What may not always be appreciated is that other birds also fly into Britain to spend winter especially if the weather is severe.

Blackbirds, robins, skylarks and some smaller species including coal tits, very common this season, and even our tiniest species the goldcrest move south.

Walking over heathland among birch trees one afternoon just before Christmas during the cold snap, I came across a flock of sixty plus siskins at the summit of a birch

Suddenly, the flock erupted en masse from the tree and flew to an adjacent birch, voicing their sweetly musical chorus, reminding me of a set of wind chimes tinkling in the breeze.

Belonging to the finch family, siskins superficially resemble greenfinches but are smaller with plumage streaked in yellow green and black and sport a markedly forked tail.

They live mainly in coniferous woodland in northern Britain but in winter move south to be joined by migrants from the north continent together with a similar species, namely the lesser redpoll which often joins their flocks.

They are fascinating to watch as they move through birch and alder trees, often hanging upside down to access seeds (pictured)