Starlings murmuration at Penrith

A flock of starlings flying intricate patterns around an aerial mast at sunset over Penrith as I wait for a train to the South. Being this close to the murmuration, I could hear the noise of the air over their wings. I was surprised to see them this far north this early in the year but fascinated by the patterns of the flock and the way smaller flocks arrived and joined in the murmuration. Those are the Caldbeck Fells and Skiddaw Forest on the skyline.

The word Murmuration, meaning “the continuous utterance of low, barely audible sounds; complaining, grumbling” was a borrowing by Middle English from Classical Latin and there are equivalents in Old French, Old Occitan, Portuguese and Italian. The OED lists many uses of the word from 1450 AD onwards as a group term of starlings.