In the middle of an early January night, a very large fox padded into my garden and began vocalising his 'wow-wow-wow' contact calls, messages which roughly translated mean 'here I am girls'!

At the same time a robin began singing so it was quite a unique combination of sound and a most unusual duet!

The fox continued barking for half an hour but no vixen answered. Eventually he fox-trotted off down the road still calling to try his luck in pastures new. However, there are fewer chances of finding a mate these days as the animals are quite scarce in my area compared with a decade or so ago.

A couple of nights later he returned but didn't bark for long as no vixen answered with her banshee-like shrieks, but he is a regular visitor now, drinking at the pond and barking most nights.

Then at first light my local blackbird began singing, not his complete song yet but just tuning up for the big spring sing-along, until, he was disturbed by the incessant yelping of a flock of rose-ringed parakeets which inhibit native birdsong.

The population of parakeets has really escalated out of control within the past few years and the birds are classed as one of the world's most destructive and invasive species along with grey squirrels.

To me, they are as out of place in our environment as a Christmas carol being sung in June!