It is night-time, and I head out into my Clackmannanshire garden, tilt my head towards the starry heavens and listen. At first I hear nothing, but then a thin ‘tseep, tseep’ drifts down from high above – the calls of migrating redwings as they swoop-in from their breeding grounds in Scandinavia.

Redwings are delightful little thrushes that spend the winter here, and over the next few weeks large numbers will descend upon the Wee County. They have picked a good time to arrive, as our hedgerows are brimming with red-glistened haws and other berries, providing a feast to fatten-up on before the onset of winter.

Later that week I’m down in Alloa, and in trees by the edge of a supermarket car park a distinctive cackling carries in the breeze. It is a flock of fieldfares – another winter visiting thrush that is larger than the redwing and which sports a distinctive slate-grey head and rump, along with golden speckled breast.

The fieldfares bound away across to another more distant stand of trees, excitedly chattering amongst themselves. They had only just arrived and their flight across the North Sea would have been dangerous and challenging, and I couldn’t help but reflect that their constant calling was almost as if they were expressing relief at having made it safely.

This is always an exciting time of year in the wildlife calendar, and as the calls of the fieldfares faded into the distance, I wondered what other wonderful wildlife surprises lay around the corner. Woodcocks, too, will be making their landfall here shortly as winter descends upon their Russian breeding grounds, and in among flocks of chaffinches, I’ll be a keeping a keen eye out for bramblings, a scarce winter visiting finch.