The birds must know it has just been Valentine's Day. The Tawny owls have been calling to each other in the evenings, ( NB. a Tawny Owl never calls "twit twoo". In fact the "twit" or more accurately "ke-wick" is a Tawny Owl's contact call and the "twoo" or again more accurately "hoo-hoo-oooo" is the male's territorial call. Consequently, if you hear "ke-wick hoo-hoo-oooo" it is most likely a male answering a female (or another male*). Both can be heard in the recording on the Garden Birds site here http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/tawnyowl.htm.)
Blue tits have also been continuing to inspecting the nest boxes in SSW.
There are more birds singing this week, such as the Dunnock which, whilst quite drab in appearance, has a beautiful song when vying for a mate.
I havealso heard even more Song thrushes around the village singing this week too, which is always a welcome sound as, apart from the lovely song, their numbers are sadly still declining.
With 2 days in a row of frosty, clear nights followed by lovely sunshine I have also been pleased to see both Peacock and Tortoiseshell butterflies on the wing, as well as a huge Bumble bee.
The Tortoiseshell and bee were both taking advantage of the flowering heather in my mum's garden, but unfortunately were too quick to get a photo of. Let's hope they manage to survive if the weather gets wet or colder again.
Fingers crossed for more sun as the evenings slowly begin to draw out!
* Thanks to the "British Garden Bird" site for this helpful explanation