By earthdreamer

Mesmerised by a Murmuration

Totally Mesmerising (this has to be seen in large!)

I feel truly blessed. I was given the most amazing gift tonight on my 300th blip birthday. I was privileged to witness a quite astonishing murmuration, all played out to a beautiful sunset. Once again I contrived to be at exactly the right place at exactly the right time. I'm buzzing at the moment. It was one of the most incredible things I've seen in my entire life.

A few people reminded me about my upcoming 300th, but I didn't have any plan. I never really have a plan. I've kept this journal to observing things that I see on my travels in the outside world. As I discussed a little while ago, I do sometimes go out on the moor or on the bike to get a blip when I might not otherwise have bothered, but that is almost always to give me the opportunity to see something rather than take a particular shot. I'm trying to keep in mind that this is actually a journal.

I left work a little early today to get to an appointment and trusted that something would come up on my way home. I took the long route back, via DIck Hudson's, East Morton, Swartha and Addingham Moorside. I spotted three trees with the moor as a backdrop and thought I had my shot. I then stopped when the sun broke through some clouds over Steeton Moor and three shafts of golden light emerged in starbursts. I thought it was in the bag then. But that was just a prelude to what was to come.

As I climbed the last hill I began to notice large flocks of birds in the distance and stopped to take a look. They soon moved closer and started to merge. I was completely mesmerised as I realised I was witnessing a murmuration. The amazing thing was that they seemed to be performing for me. Their display was centred upon the point exactly where I was standing. I soon realised that in the fading dusk light it was an impossible thing to photograph so I put the camera away and just lost myself in the ever shifting patterns they were creating in the sky.

After a while I noticed that quite a few cars had stopped on this quiet back lane and there was a growing audience. It was wonderful to be able to share this experience with some other people. I could understand why it is called a murmuration too, because as the birds swoop past the only sound is this barely perceptible murmur of their beating wings. Other than that it was eerily silent. As time went on and the light faded, the murmuration got denser and the shapes more dramatic. It was literally breathtaking when they coalesced into close formation and swooped directly over our heads.

Finally, in a matter of no more than a minute, and with perfect orchestration, every single starling descended in groups to a small copse of trees. They then started to make a noise for the first time and sing away to each other in a cacophony of starling chit-chat . I'd love to know what they were saying!

The show was over, and there really was the feeling that they had been putting on a performance. The display served no useful purpose. They were having fun. How else can you explain it? I was very close to breaking out into a round of applause when they finished! I suspect most people have seen videos of this awesome natural phenomenon, but just in case you haven't, take a look at this, one of the best examples I've ever seen. It's actually worth watching just for the look on the girl's face at the end. I think I had that same smile on my own face.

So, to reiterate again, I feel blessed. Blipping is continuing to offer up the most amazing experiences. I'm not only seeing and enjoying my local environment in an altogether more profound way, I've also met some fabulous new people and forged here some very special friendships. The only downside is the difficulty of engaging with all the people here I would like to. This writeup is already long enough, but I would just like to say hello to the many new subscribers I've picked up recently, and say thank you to every single person who has left a comment, given stars and conferred hearts over recent weeks. I know I've not been very good at thanking people personally, but I appreciate them so much. To my mind, this has become your journal every bit as much as mine.

I now have to get changed and get properly warm. After standing around for an hour I got frozen to the bone. I was lulled into a false sense of security by the mild weather this morning, which has turned a good deal colder tonight. And, by the way, I missed that appointment. It seems that I had a more important one to attend!

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