February Murmurations

“Life loves itself, grows
out of nothing, into more
and more flowering.
Like spring’s rise (sap in the
trees and the birds
dancing in the open skies),
like the bird’s
wing opening,
from the beating heart…”

Those beautiful, hopeful words by Bryony Rogers, on page 24 of the 2017  Earth Pathways Diary, are on display next to me as I write and they are so apt, for the subject of this blog post is murmuration …

Not only is ‘murmuration’ one of the most beautiful and mysterious sounding words in the English language, it is also one of the most beautiful and mysterious sights in nature. And, it is happening out in the countryside and by the coast each evening, just as dusk falls, every day at the moment and will continue for a few weeks more if we are lucky. In fact, you could say there is a murmuration proliferation in celebration of the first stirrings of spring. More surprisingly, it is also happening over the Co-op in the centre of my home town of Belper in Derbyshire and it is causing quite a stir!

If you go down to (no, not the woods, today!) the Co-op, and allow yourself a little time to stand and stare you will be treated to up to half an hour of the most awe-inspiring aerial ballet performed by thousands of starlings who are roosting in a bungalow-sized laurel bush on the edge of the car park! You will fall victim to murmuration fascination I guarantee you 😉

These flocks of starlings are having quite an effect on the population of our lovely town. Each evening a small crowd gathers to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ and swap amazed exclamations at the wonder of nature and the sheer exuberance of the aerial display they are being treated to. These small exquisite birds have brought together young and old; friends, family members and strangers; to share a joyful few minutes together in unity.

And, as if all of this was not reason enough to stand out in the cold at 5pm on the edge of a town centre supermarket car park in February, the best is yet to come! The climax of the show is marked by a sudden dive by one bird, followed in rapid succession by a whole stream more, looking for all the world like wind-torn leaves being whipped to the ground by a sudden tornado, and an ear-splitting crazy tweeting as thousands of birds find a place to roost for the night in the space of a few seconds…truly spectacular! Last night this finale was greeted by spontaneous clapping and cheering!

So, to finish, I will turn to next week, page 26, in my lovely Earth Pathways Diary and quote Nell Aurelia Admiral –

“May we return to knowing oneness,
To rising, diving, spiralling in unity.
May the sun light our hearts
And may our dreams be true.
May we know simply:
We are love-and anything is possible.”

Until the next time , that’s the end of my murmuration contemplation …happy gazing!

Written by The Diary’s own Sue Sturt-Bolshaw

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