It's easy to stay snuggled up indoors waiting for the worst of winter to pass. The midwinter festivities are over and it feels like a long slog to spring. As Tom Lehrer put it "Bad weather always looks worse through a window".
One of the things I love about running a forest school is being outside in every season. Not only that, it's becoming familiar with a place and noticing all the tentative changes that happen.
At this time of the year it may look like not much is going on but signs of life are there. When I start to see the green shoots of bulbs peeping through I can almost see spring around the corner.
One of my favourite things this time of year is the starlings. I love them! They charge around the garden chattering and whistling. It really is a marvellous thing to hear.
Here's an extract of Starling by Robert MacFarlane in The Lost Words
Should green as moss be mixed with
blue-of-steel be mixed with gleam-of-gold
you'd still fall short by far of the-
Tar-bright oil-slick sheen and
gloss of starling wing.
And if you sampled sneaker-squeaks
and car alarms and phone ringtones
you'd still come nowhere near the-
Rooftop riprap street-smart
hip-hop of starling song.
Here in the South West we are lucky to be near one of the best places to see starling murmurations, Avalon Marshes. Guess what? January is one of the best times to go. Give the starling hotline a ring and you will hear a recorded message from the RSPB letting you know where the starlings are likely to be that day. I love the idea of a starling hotline - I can just imagine a starling chatting and whistling away with the latest tweets.
January 26-28th is also the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch. Sign up and join in. It's a lovely thing to do as a family. I wonder how many starlings will be in my garden this year?