When I drove home from the Bay Area yesterday, after a wonderful day of Thanksgiving and an overnighter at my sister's before driving back home, I experienced something I will not soon forget.
These pictures were taken on hiway 12 going east into Lodi, Ca. This is the great central valley fly zone for migrating birds. At this time of the year I usually see a wonderful ,varied group of birds flying south for the Winter; but this was an all out assault on the visual and auditory senses. These are STARLINGS; thousands, upon thousands of Starlings.
Please click on the photos to get the larger and fuller effect.
The cacophonous sound that this many birds make together is even more horrendous than what one remembers in the scary old movie called THE BIRDS. The director of that movie, Alfred Hitchcock, must have experienced this "valley" phenomenon before he started filming his movie.
I saw what I thought was dust from a distance. This is peat dirt country and when the wind picks up the dirt from the plowed fields, or a tractor is moving across a field, you will see dirt and dust for miles, but as I got closer I realized that this was not dust. The whole sky was filled with birds, moving, undulating in waves, like a huge cloud blown by unseen wind. I grabbed my small point and shoot and started blindly taking pictures out of the window, but soon realized that I was taking my life in my hands on a very busy highway and decided to pull off the road. Several other people did the same thing.
As I rolled down the window, I heard the sound of these birds. It was something you can't believe. The family that had stopped behind me had a young boy who jumped out of their car and ran around yelling and pointing in amazement.
I got out and reached for my NIKON, in the back seat, and started taking pictures. These that are posted are the best. I took at least 30 or 40 shots.
In the middle of "the day after Thanksgiving" traffic, a few of us "crazy" folks were stopped on the side of a very busy highway, looking up into the sky, cameras flashing, oblivious to huge trucks, speeding cars and bird-droppings; sharing a sight in nature that some will never see or, probably like some of the people that continued to drive, care about.
Did you see us as you drove by? Did you see the small boy jumping up and down? There are still some of us that have to stop and look..., and hear, when Nature does something amazing and wonderful. There is still a small child inside of me, with a sense of wonder that has never gone away.
The next time you see something that you think you will never see again, take the time to stop and look. It is a human right that isn't written down in some law book somewhere. It's a gift that waits for you and will live in your amazed heart forever.