Storm Eunice is battering the UK, disrupting plans and wrecking havoc and devastation to large parts of the country. In such conditions, people often ask what happens to the wildlife. That's a good question, and it varies to between species. 

If they can, many will seek shelter in holes or underground, but small woodland birds much continue to feed even in these harsh conditions and will often be found among the leaf litter on the ground, rather in the tree canopy. Birds of prey will likely sit out the worst of the weather - providing they hunted successfully yesterday. Even rooks, which often appear to play in the wind will keep flying to a minimum today. For wetland birds, it's simply a case of riding the waves, or resting and feeding in the shelter of islands or tall vegetation. 

There is one wetland bird, though, that is never prone to sitting quietly, and that's the focus of today's collective nouns blog, not least because one of the nouns is very apt in this stormy weather.  

commotion of coots is perfect description of their behaviour, because whenever two coots get into an argument - which is most of the time - it's highly likely that a third, fourth or even fifth bird will join the scrap. Invariably these arguments quickly turn into full blown feet-first fights, water splashing everywhere as rivals try to force their opponents into submission.

Two alternative collective nouns for coots refer the behaviour of bigger flocks that often form tight flocks in the middle of lakes. These rafts of coots are particularly obvious when a predator spooks the flock, as the coots move closer together for defence. When these flocks of particularly tightly packed, they are also known as cover of coots. 

In contrast, a covert of coots probably relates to the behaviour of lone birds or birds on well vegetated waterways when, like the closely related moorhen or water rail, they skulk in the tall vegetation. However, as coots are rarely silent for long, they can hardly be described a behaving covertly!