The Common doesn’t look its best under grey skies at the moment. Only the first few
gorse flowers (plus two buttercup flowers that we found!) provide a little brightness
among the muted shades of winter. But when the sun is shining the scene is transformed.
If we get any more clear mornings when the trees are white with hoar frost, do get
out onto the Common and enjoy its magic. At this time of year the squirrels’ dreys
are especially visible as bundles of leafy twigs high up in the bare trees. As last
winter, moles have been very active beside the football pitch making long lines of
molehills. Elsewhere the drifts of fallen leaves and the areas of tussocky grass
are important winter refuges for small mammals and hibernating insects.
Some weeks ago we read of a sparrow hawk trying to catch a young stoat. This was
the first time we had realised that sparrow hawks preyed on anything other than birds.
Then while talking to John Hanna on the Common he told us of seeing a sparrow hawk
trying to grab a young rat which had taken to visiting a bird feeder just outside
his window. The feeder pole partly obstructed the hawk and the rat escaped from its
grasp. It didn’t come to the feeder again! John said the view of the hawk from just
a few feet away was really spectacular but it all happened so quickly that there
wasn’t time to pick up a camera.
Happy New Year!
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