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starlings, sky, and cranberries

At the Cold Spring Orchard today, so many starlings, thick on the telephone wires across from the main building, and in a bare tree by it, and more and more kept coming and finding room on those wires ("slide over; can I squeeze in here?"), and they were chatting to one another in their squeaky voices, metallic parts in need of oil, but they were cheerful and comfortable squeaks--not strained or agonized. So many, against a sky that was a broad watercolor sweep of gray. They filled up that sky with their chatter and their black silhouettes. They were crowd sourcing themselves. Then I opened the trunk of my car to take out a bag, and then I let the trunk slam shut, and they all lifted up,

all of them,

And they all stopped speaking,

and they gathered into one cloud and flew away without saying a word, the only sound the whirring of all those wings,

and I wanted to call, Come back

don't leave the sky so empty.

But they wouldn't have heard me.


In other news, there is a UMass cranberry bog, and they were selling cranberries from it. However, I bought only apples: Baldwins and Roxbury Russets. But I took the card by the cash register, with the photo of cranberries ripening on the bush (they look like coffee berries), and the links to pages with recipes.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 16th, 2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
I like your description of the sound of starlings. There was a group of them across the street from me for a few days, hanging out in my neighbor's trees, and I heard that metallic, rusty squeak (times a hundred or so). It's a very specific sound, of starlings at this time of year.
Nov. 17th, 2014 12:15 pm (UTC)
It's a very cheerful sound, isn't it? Like they enjoy one another's company.
Nov. 16th, 2014 10:16 pm (UTC)
Starlings are amazing little creatures. I love watching them fly.
Nov. 17th, 2014 12:15 pm (UTC)
Nov. 16th, 2014 10:21 pm (UTC)
I want more apple varieties! What are those 2 like?
Nov. 17th, 2014 12:43 pm (UTC)
They are both *so full of flavor*. The Baldwin is very hard and juice and flavorful, and is used a lot in cooking (it makes pretty large apples). The Roxbury Russet is less juicy, but also extremely flavorful, and dries nicely (I like making dried apple slices from it). Neither is super tart.

One thing I love about Cold Spring orchard is that it has unusual apple varieties. These two are both very old apples (the Roxbury one is from colonial days).
Nov. 17th, 2014 10:50 pm (UTC)
Nov. 17th, 2014 01:10 am (UTC)
Crowd-sourced starlings! That must have been something to see...
Nov. 17th, 2014 12:44 pm (UTC)
It wasn't like those huge murmurations that have been captured on video, but it was very wonderful in its smaller-scale way.
Nov. 17th, 2014 02:36 am (UTC)
Oh, they will be back!
Nov. 17th, 2014 12:44 pm (UTC)
I hope!
Nov. 17th, 2014 10:32 am (UTC)
I posted this in facebook the other day. Makes me happy:

Nov. 17th, 2014 12:14 pm (UTC)
The starting scene in that, where they're all on the wire? That's what it looked like!

That was lovely. I've seen other videos of murmurations of starlings, but what I like about this one is the focus, toward the end, on all the individuals, and on them landing and then rising again. I do love seeing the starling clouds in the sky, the way they move and turn, the way the blackness of all those bodies gets more intense, then more attenuated. But I like to remember that those marvelous clouds are made up of oh-so-many individual birds, and your video shows that.
Nov. 17th, 2014 03:14 pm (UTC)
I first read the subject line as "Starlings and sky cranberries." :P Wondered what those could be.

I got to see flocks of starlings in OK. One of them was doing its best to imitate a phone ringing and was doing a bang up job of it. I do so love their iridescence.

Nov. 17th, 2014 11:04 pm (UTC)

At the wildlife center, we had an African grey parrot boarding with us, and everyone's wondering why nobody's answering the phone, and it turns out it wasn't the phone at all, it's the parrot mimicking it.
Nov. 17th, 2014 11:55 pm (UTC)

It should be illustrated, four-panel cartoon style.
Nov. 17th, 2014 11:59 pm (UTC)
Someone should do that.
Nov. 18th, 2014 12:03 am (UTC)
I vote you! Because you know the exact items to draw to capture the sense of the wildlife center.
Nov. 18th, 2014 12:05 am (UTC)
Starlings all secretly harbor a desire to talk on the telephone.

I love starlings too. My older daughter was the one who first made me love them. She picked them out for admiring because of their speckled breasts and their yellow beaks, when she was little.
Nov. 17th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
Once, my cousin was talking about starlings covering trees and then making patterns in the sky. I don't remember much of it, though.
Nov. 17th, 2014 11:56 pm (UTC)
All starling stories come together at twilight--they swoop around in a beautiful sky dance, and then settle down in people's subconscious to roost.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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