Garden Diary - January 2012

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Monday, 2 January 2012
A Cackle of Grackles

"Come!" Paul said. With no idea what was out there I headed for the front door. Noise, a murmuration, then birds began to appear.

At first it was just a few. Their grouping, relative size, black color, and long tail identifies them as grackles.

They kept coming. As well as their chattering we could now hear the susurrus of their wings.

Even more. More than hundreds, it must be thousands of birds. They flew over our house for 15 minutes.

Some settled in trees just beyond the house, others flew a little further before roosting. They continuously
kept chattered very noisily, certainly justifying their collective noun, which is a cackle of grackles.

UPDATE: Friday, 6 January 2012

Coming home from Flemington shortly before noon today I saw a huge number of grackles on a lawn.
Pulled over to the side of the road and took some pictures through the opened passenger window.

The birds were vocalizing, swirling in the air, strutting on the ground. Close enough I could see their
pale eye ring in sharp contrast to the overall glossy black feathers. I was the only one to pull over,
the other cars just kept driving. And when the birds took off and swirled across the highway I was
afraid to drive off until they gained altitude. With this packed mob I was sure that I'd have hit some.

UPDATE: Sunday, 15 January 2012

They're still around, that cackle of grackles. They came flittering through the woods in midafternoon

so many that I could hear them chortling from within the house, see their shadows cast on a sunny wall.
When they returned today it was not the birds I first heard. It was Mr. Poe, softly nattering and gnashing
his teeth, overcome by their numbers, the movement, the cacophonous sound as the birds kept vocalizing.

And then they were gone.

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