Sunday, 23 November 2008

Almost flying (Croston Moss and Finney)

I hadn't expected the wind to close up the blue so quickly so now I'm in a hedged farm track protecting my face from shards of hail. But it's worth it - the assault has forced fifty or more fieldfare from meadow to a tall hawthorn hedge so I can see them clearly. And in the same field over two hundred starlings fly low, re-group. I can cope with hail - brush it off and keep dry.

But when I cross the train track to the open fields of Croston Finney icy rain begins.There's a small patch of blue which I hope will blow over as quickly as this cloud-mass... And suddenly thousands, yes thousands, of starlings undulate across the fields; a ginormous roller coaster shifting black to grey. This is worth every drop of freezing thigh!

And as the shower eases a loose flock of meadow pipits land right where I can see them. bright legs running over muddy tractor tracks and abandoned onions. Their feathers tinted yellow in this light. And suddenly - a kingfisher flies across the path, turns to follow the channel, its turquoise and orange showing bright against dark earth.

Next - a stonechat on a straw Umbellifer. And I as I turn a corner - larks I think - pale legs and some vertical take-offs and descents. A female kestrel hovers, dives - empty. Rises, moves on, hovers again....

I cross the railway and am back on the Moss where starlings fill fields and telegraph wires. And as I walk down the track at one with ground, distance, wind, they come flocking down the track behind me, pour in from the fields, flying round and over me, I feel the undulating excitement holding them together and for a few enchanting seconds it also holds me. What a gift to be awash in feeling their connections connecting with me. A rare and precious moment indeed!

Turning into the track that leads back to my car, the winds blows in the next band of rain as fifty of more fieldfare empty from an ash to land in a field where another flock flies in - one hundred or more picking worms amongst the grass. Mornings like these are beyond the reach of words.

Fieldfare image by kind permission of Mike King : Use the link to visit to his bird watching diary.

starling image copied from:


Crafty Green Poet said...

sounds like more good birding. I'm most envious in fact of that number of fieldfares, we get reasonable numbers of redwings but I've only ever seen the occasional fieldfare in with them.

Being in the midst of so many starlings fliying in formation would be wonderful

Anonymous said...

Beyond the reach of words, Carol? You're not doing badly! I almost felt I was there!


Rhys said...

Hi Carol,

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. Flocks of birds are the most breathtaking and spectacular objects to photography. I really enjoyed your description of the sights and thought that the image of the flock almost appears as if the birds are breaking away from a much larger almost mtythological creature with wings.

Mistlethrush said...

CGP - I've never seen so many fieldfare together either - but I'm only just learning where to look.

DM - Welcome and thanks for visiting. Hope you call back soon.

Rhys - I agree large flocks totally breathtaking and nearer you are to them the better. I must get to the coast this winter as I'd love to see the great masses of knot and dunlin too. As to how to photograph them - I don't think my little camera would know where to start....

Mistlethrush said...

DM - I wonder if that's Desperate Mallard? (Maybe I should write theses replies later in the day - when I've woken up a bit!)

from the field book

from the field book
An inspiring gift for anyone who enjoys watching nature.