THE CLOCKS went forward at the weekend so we’re now into British summertime, despite the low temperature and the strips of snow lingering on the hills.

It’s 8pm and as the light fades there’s a lot of posturing and puffing up of plumage as the back garden blackbirds emphasise their claims to the lawn. A single male claims the flower border while a resident pair forage around the shed and the herb bed opposite.

The males play cat and mouse, mirroring each other’s postures but keeping a few paces away from each other on a band of disputed territory along the front of the herb bed and down to the pond.

The bluster doesn’t bubble over into outright aggression and the shed pair fade away beyond the hedge as dusk drains away the light. They’ll be bursting into song to establish their claims again at dawn.