More murmurations of starlings again today, at the end of a delightful day of crisp cold sunshine. Wave upon wave of small groups of birds circled and joined the roost in the tree.
The colours of the sky and shapes of their silhouettes against the setting sun were so compelling that I ran out with my camera to take a picture from the road. Hard to describe the exhilaration when standing with head tilted back as quivers of black arrows swoop close overhead through the vast cloudless skies, the very air seeming to vibrate beneath their wings.
Moments later after I had returned within the house, I watched what must have been a sparrowhawk gliding towards the tree, and a shower of black panic filled the sky as the birds were expelled. The wingspan of the raptor was immense, easily forty times my perception of the individual starlings.
The birds reconvened in the fields beyond; black shadows falling across the fading green of the pasture. I did not see what happened to their predator, nor whether he was successful. As I watched, the horizon slowly flushed with a band of vivid red as the sun dropped lower, a backdrop to the dance of millions of starlings that seemed to come together from all around, shimmying west towards the barns that stand half a mile or so up the lane, and finally disappearing from sight.