One day in late October, I looked skywards as a flock of birds flew round a couple of times, calling to each other with a high, plaintive cry.
That little cry and the sun flashing on their pale undersides made them recognisable as redwings.
Members of the thrush family, these often fly in with fieldfares from Scandinavia and come here to feast on our berries.
Trouble is, if other birds get to them first or there weren’t many to begin with, it could well be their last journey as they are not very robust.
This year they should be safe: there’s plenty to go round.
Mr Bocelli has a problem with some of his neighbours.

Sparrows have now increased so much that we have at least 30 in our small garden – and that’s a lot of sparrow per square foot.

They too have a taste for sultanas, and although Mr B will see off one of his kind if it as much as sighs two doors away, he is much too polite to shoulder other species out of the way, so we have had to put his share on the inside mat.
These days we have a new and fairly regular visitor to the garden.
He is a sparrow hawk.
He comes crashing in like a dive bomber and all the resident or visiting birds go quiet for a very long time until they’re sure he’s left.
(The next bit is not for the faint hearted.) We were having lunch one day in early November when there was a kafuffle in the hedge.
He had dived in, caught a sparrow and flew off to the fence at the bottom of the garden which is partly sheltered by a laurel.
It may not have been everyone’s idea of a lunchtime interlude, but we watched in fascination over the next quarter of an hour whilst he first plucked then demolished his meal – legs, beak and all – sat for a few moments to let it go down, then flew off.
I’m glad he chose a sparrow rather than a goldfinch or a blue tit – perhaps if there’s a natural predator around it will keep the numbers down to a sustainable level.
(Ok, you’re safe now.) A friend phoned to tell me that on the way back from Milborne Port along the wall-bordered road to Stalbridge, he had come face to face with a stag in the middle of the road.
Too small for a red, too large for a roe and quite definitely not a fallow, he identified it as a sika deer.
These are not native to this country but were introduced during the 19th century and in some parts, including Dorset, they have thrived, though not in such large numbers as our native species.
Shuffling through the leaves of woodland on the outskirts of the village, I stopped to examine nut shells, particularly those of the hazel.
Some had jagged holes made by nuthatch, magpie or woodpecker.
Some were cracked in half by a squirrel.
Some had small, rounded holes at one end with delicate little tooth marks made by a wood mouse or bank vole.
The ones I keep looking for are those with a neat hole in the side but no sign of tooth marks, because this would be made by a dormouse.
When I lived in Devon, I found one in his nest.
I thought it was just an empty ball of grass and bark, so I stuck my finger inside to see how it was made and suddenly detected a slight change of temperature.
I peeped in the hole and could just see a tiny chestnut-coloured creature, coiled up with its furry tail across its nose and its tiny paws perfect and pink.
I covered the hole up quickly and replaced the ball where I’d found it.
I have always cherished the memory of the little Devon dormouse, and that’s why I keep searching here, in the hope that I may find one of its Dorset cousins.
Happy Christmas.