January days may be short, and often damp, but it's still possible to make the most of your weekend.

I spent the latter part of Sunday afternoon deep in the flatlands of East Anglia. Marsh harriers floated over the water, upsetting the ducks swimming beneath. Cetti's warblers burst into song, hidden from view, while water rails squealed from far away. 

As the sun faded behind the clouds, flocks of small birds began to stream past us, gathering into larger groups. Starlings! Numbers built slowly - we weren't sure if it could be described as a 'murmuration'.

A few hundred starlings whirled and swirled over the reeds. Then the real action started - from behind us, a long, undulating stream of birds - as if they were on a gentle rollercoaster - flew towards and then right over us! They made an amazing sight, but the sound was equally impressive as thousands of pairs of wings beat overhead. 

There were a few more minutes of aerobatics from the starlings... I'm bad at counting, but perhaps 10,000 birds performed in front of us. At times it was easy to forget that the flock was made up of separate animals, and wasn't just a big, elastic, shape-shifting mass.

Then, somehow, they decided it was time to bed down for the night and the flock poured down out of the sky, into their favoured patch of reeds. There was nothing more to see, just the sounds of thousands of fidgety, wriggly starlings bickering over the best place to spend the night.

By the time we started our walk back, it was cold and raining, but sometimes that just doesn't matter.

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