On a bright crisp February morning it is a real pleasure to take a turn about the common. The chill in the air and the hard ground underfoot make me think what a difficult time wildlife must be enduring. The berries are largely gone and a lack of invertebrate life must mean a tough time for all birds and mammals. This is reflected in a general lack of birds around the common.
A starling was perched on top of an ash tree close to the signpost. It was in its striking winter plumage of speckled dots on a dark background and was a surprise as it was on its own. Starlings are a very gregarious bird and are almost always seen in large flocks, from hundreds in the local fields up to a million in the evening gatherings or murmurations for their roost.
The frogs have spawned in Liddaton pond and there are really huge amounts this year. Unfortunately the water level has dropped a little and some of the spawn has been stranded on the bank. I attempted to return some of it to the water but it is almost impossible to move as it slithered through my fingers each time I tried to grab it. Perhaps I will go back with a small shovel.
At last the birds are starting to sing with chaffinch, hedge sparrow and song thrush all in good voice as I opened the car door to start our walk. The coming month will no doubt bring even more sounds as the birds pair up and establish their territories.