Looking up



A lovely starlit sky this early morning, making one want to look up and see above and beyond us.  As with yesterday at dusk when we were also looking up, as Helen and I finished our walk to Durlston and Anvil Point (the guillemots had gone again, having been back in numbers earlier in the week) along Mariners Drive to see the starlings’ formation flying, and witness them finally settling to roost at 4.54 p.m. in a hedge at the bottom end of the road.  

It was a spectacular display against the cloudy sky, and the description of ‘murmuration’ does seem apt when the wing beats of the birds bring them sweeping round with the sound like a gentle murmur.  Though I can see the point of those in Rome who complain of their million and a half starlings creating a mess with their droppings, as reported this morning on the BBC news website.  We had one or two to clean off on return.

The formation is not unlike a swarm of bees, with small comings and goings, but most of the constituent birds act together as one organism, as with a swarm; this moment flying one way, then next swooping in a different direction.  It is an amazing sight and well worth seeing, but probably best from a vantage point a little way off!

John Mann