It has been raining all day today – cold rain, almost sleet-like, and the temperature has only got up to about 8 degrees C. The thrushes have been singing, as they always do when there’s a downpour. But the starlings have had more important things to do – grubbing for worms and larvae in the boggy section of garden that used to be our back lawn. I say ‘used to be’ because it’s now pretty much like a quagmire.
They don’t care how wet they get – the water drips off their scruffy neck feathers, and they must get soaked to the skin because their heads are mostly pointing downwards. They pierce the soil with their beaks wide open, presumably giving them twice as much chance of locating a grub. Then they collect the squirmy prizes in their beak, two or three at a time, before flapping off to feed their hungry brood.
The pair of blackbirds have joined them a few times, both looking ill-kempt and harassed, preoccupied with childcare and in need of a good sleep. I remember the feeling well.
It seems that this weather is due to clear away in the next couple of hours, leaving us with a clear night and a possible frost tomorrow. And a massive sunspot is now facing the Earth, so big that (apparently) it can be seen with the naked eye. It would be good if we could see the sun with the naked eye. Anyway, there’s a high chance of solar flares, so I wonder if we’ll see some action? I’m checking AuroraWatch and Spaceweather for updates.
Images copyright © Colin Woolf