We have had rain for the last 5 days. Every kind of rain, lashing, gentle, and soaking. The birds are bedraggled, hungry and so wet that their feathers are soaked and beaks muddy. The finches are back to winter feeding flocks while the blackbirds and mistle thrushes stagger on trying to defend their nests, feed themselves and feed the nestlings while keeping them dry. Once the nest floods then the nestlings will die. It hasn’t just been the unrelenting rain but the finger-numbing, tingling cold of temperatures barely above freezing, And then today, the gusty, strong freezing wind getting into every nook and cranny, bending the trees, flattening the plants and ripping off leaves of plants hoping for sun and a gentle breeze.
There’s no doubt we badly need the rain. This will help the famers but because the ground has been so dry, the sudden onslaught of fierce, sudden rain is running off the surface and not penetrating deep into the earth to nourish the deep roots of the big trees. There have been flash floods and will be more today, not least because houses have been built on land that is a flood plain or even drained ponds.
As the wet day ends, the blackbird sings, wet and bedraggled as he is, hoping that tomorrow will dawn bright and sunny with the promise that spring really is on its way. Courting and nest-building will have to start all over again meaning a very late spring. This time last year we were having barbecues, fires were finished and the first nestlings were out into the wide world. So much for global warming….