It looks like being a very poor year for brambles up here in Durham but it was a different story down in North East Lincolnshire at the weekend, where the blackberry bushes at the back of the sand dunes at Cleethorpes local nature reserve were laden with fast-ripening fruits.
The scrubby vegetation at the back of the dunes here is dominated by sea buckthorn, which also carried a fine crop of ripening berries, that look particularly attractive against the shrub's silver-grey foliage. Birds never seem very interested in these berries, which often are still untouched well into winter. The same can't be said for the elder berries here, which were being consumed rapidly by large, noisy flocks of starlings.
Many of the juvenile starlings were in their transitional plumage, still bearing traces of their first set of brown feathers but rapidly moulting into their smart spotty winter attire.