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 :http://www.birder.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk Use the link to visit to his bird watching diary.
starling image copied from: farm4.static.flickr.com/3062/2297170512_46fa1...