This morning, a fierce wind is careening across the countryside, as sharp hail showers and angry clouds scud along with it.
An occasional gap in the clouds allows amber sunlight to cast a golden glow over bare stubble fields (some of which might even be bere stubble) which gives an indoor spectator, insulated against the weather, the fleeting impression that it would be possible to go for an airy walk.
Several dozen Starlings fly to and fro over the garden, seemingly impervious to the heavy-handed elements, whilst a small flock of Snipe are tucked down in the muddy furrows of the field opposite. They are skittish, hunkering down even further when a gull flies overhead. During moments when they feel unthreatened and when long-billed heads emerge above the grass stalks, we count thirteen individuals, but guess that there may be many more hidden from sight.
Bizarrely, a grey cat appears from nowhere, walking carefully along the dry stane dyke that borders the road, before disappearing from view once more. As it does so, it spooks a female Sparrowhawk that I had not spotted at all. She flies low, impossibly low, across the stubble, more as a means of navigating the harsh weather than in any hope of startling a meal into flight.
The Starlings are nowhere to be seen at all and the tight-sitting Snipe are as one with the muddy ground.