October 03, 2010

Rain, rain, rain...

It's probably safe to say that the annual movement of the jet stream has occurred. Each year it moves south in autumn, bringing low pressure to the UK and causing wet and unsettled weather. It rained all day on Friday, and all Saturday night into this morning, and the ground is waterlogged.
The grey days mean it's unlikely the autumn colours will be spectacular this year. The colours are partly a result of an excess of sugar that becomes trapped in the leaves, but the weather means that photosynthesis will naturally slow down before the leaves fall, so that they simply turn brown and drop rather than lighting up the landscape with reds and yellows. Heavy rain and winds will also weigh them down and strip them from the trees, while in some areas they've fallen already due to dry conditions earlier in the year.
But all is not lost. It'll be a good autumn for fungi, and birders are rejoicing at the thought of the unsettled weather blowing migrants off course and into our shores - though one has to wonder if an unscheduled pit-stop is really ideal for the birds themselves, or just for the twitchers with their scopes and their notebooks.