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Since it is the month of the unmentionably sad departure I thought I would remind us of what has passed this week in Claxton. At July's end they put on a wonderful display with social screaming parties of 30-plus and unprecedented - for this village - aggregate swarms of 40-plus birds in the heavens above. I love the way that this monochrome species never quite looks as those words suggest. The bellies on young swifts can be sooty brown, their wing edges can look tipped-in in white, the coverts all neatly pale fringed, their throat patches like a white beard. But I love most the way that direct sunlight is refracted from the surface of the adult's underwings and they flash - twinkling, twisting in and out of shade - as an unmistakable silver. Now they are gone and all summer is suddenly bereft.
© Mark Cocker 2019