Group of grey partridges (Perdix perdix) walking over a green field of winter wheat, early in the morning.

Country diary 1920: a new year begins for the blue tit and partridge

There is a winter moth on the curtain; it fluttered in last night. Its presence is normal at this season, and has little to do with the mild weather, but the merry tinkle, almost a laugh, of the blue tit is not the usual passing bell of the old year. Close to where the ploughman was cutting neat furrows in the moist earth two coveys of partridges squatted on the still undisturbed grass, where more than the usual number of daisies, though slightly, rain-soiled, are fully open.

The bosses of these little parties, stretching their necks and exhibiting their horseshoe adornments, exchanged creaky familiarities; perhaps it is as well that we cannot translate their language; it sounds abusive. Tit and partridge believe that the year, their year has begun; they go by the weather and not by any artificial, hard and fast arrangement of times and seasons.