This week, the powers that be flicked a switch, and the seasons changed.
In the space of a day, we went from mild weather to strong winds, heavy rain, and a chill in the morning air. The birds have noticed this too. All of a sudden, the goldfinches at work have formed up into their busy, tweeping flock of about 50 birds busy raiding the teasel. The local kestrel presumably having bred is back at work hover hunting over the grassland, and then there are the starlings.
A flock of about 80 birds have arrived on campus, skittish, carrying out mini murmurations as the afternoon draws on. We used to have a big roost of pied wagtails here, and I'm hoping that we might see starlings adopt our workplace as their overnight haunt too, wishing that we get huge formations of these intelligent, noisy birds performing their teardrop aerobatics over the unlikely vistas of car parks and industry.
I was out on my lunchtime walk when I encountered one of these starlings feeding by the wildflower mini-meadows I helped create. It was so unafraid I felt it must be a juvenile bird entering its first winter; it let me get to three metres away without being remotely perturbed as it probed the ground with its beak for food.
Attracting odd glances from passers-by, I dropped to my belly and wormed my way closer, to about a metre and a half, admiring the beautiful green and purple irridescense from its plumage, and with my mobile phone, actually managed to get half decent photographs of a songbird.
All the while it tweeted conversationally, as if asking who this huge purple clad interloper was.
It was an encounter I badly needed.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.09.21