It's now 20th April but in early December I was outside going to say Hello to a man delivering logs to my neighbour when he pointed up behind me.  The sky was full of birds.  5,000 I said?  More, more, he said. Then after that then birds kept on coming, more and more and more, going overhead in a continuous stream.  He told me they were wood pigeons, palombs they are called here,  while we watched, for maybe 5 minutes.    Then there was a sort of pause and I went back to my house.  Then I saw a few more and I grabbed my camera.  That's a few more, comparatively speaking.  If there were 5,000 in that first lot we saw - and remember  the farmer delivering logs thought there were many more than 5,000 - then the total of those that flew over must have been 30,000 or 40,000.  If he was right, there could have been 60,000 or 70,000 in total, maybe 100,000.  It was unbelievable, the sky was filled for  5 or 10 minutes.  It was like those pictures you see of locusts.

So here are the 2 photos I took of a 'small' bunch bringing up the rear.  I hope you can see the number of birds lower down, behind the trees close to the roof, behind my neighbour's weather vane.  They are not very clear at all.   Remember, this is just a few (!) bringing up the rear.

Just in case you can't see them all I have enlarged 2 small areas in the second photo.

And just in case I haven't said it enough, this was just a few, bringing up the rear.  I didn't have my camera for the main lot.  Unbelievable.

I googled Wood pigeons migration. Well, actually, I did it in French.  Palombe migration.  And read "The migratory populations during crossing over the Pyrenees to winter in the Iberian Peninsula where they feed on acorns in the "Dehesa".

So it seems I am on a migration route.  We had the swallows, 10,000 or so, a while back, and now the wood pigeons.  Wow!

I took these photos a couple of days later.  The pigeons were feeding on the other side of the river and were only a comparatively small group, a fraction of the numbers that have flown overhead on other days.

These are pigeons looking for fallen grains in a cut maize field.  A sea of grey.

Taking flight.

Finally, on a lighter note - after all, it IS a Christmas update, even if rather late, goodwill to all men and so on - I received this listing from an old backwoods correspondent in the wilds of North Dakota.  I love the definition of Mega Hertz.  And reboot.  Heck, they're all good!  Thanks Lowell.

Technology for Country Folk

Log on - Making a wood stove hot.
Log off -  Too much wood on the fire
Monitor - Keep'n an eye on the wood stove.
Down Load - Gitten the farwood off'n the truck.
Mega Hertz - When yer no keerful gitten the farwood.
Floppy Disc - Whatcha git from tryin to tote too much farwood.
Ram - That thar thang what splits the farwood.
Hard Drive - Gitten home in the winter time.
Windows - What to shut when its cold outside.
Screen - What to shut when its black fly season (or the swallows come to roust)
Byte - What dem dang flys do.
Chip - munchies for the TV watchin.
Micro Chip - What's in the bottom of the munchie bag.
Modem - Watcha do to the hay fields.
Dot Matrix - Ole Dan Matrix's wife.
Lap Top - Whar the kitty sleeps.
Keyboard - War you hang the dang van keys.
Software - Dem dang plastic forks and knifes.
Mouse - What eats the grain in the barns.
Mouse Pad - That's hippie talk for where the mouse lives.
Main Frame - Holds up the house roof.
Port - Fancy flatlander wine.
Enter - Fancy talk fer "C'Mon in y'all."
Click - What you hear when you cock yer gun
Double Click - When you cock yer double barrel shotgun.
Reboot - What you have to do right before bedtime when you have to go to the outhouse.

And just in case there is anyone still reading, and in case any of those few like Traditional Jazz, take a listen to the Black Eagle Jazz Band,
it's some superb music.   You'll need to register but it's safe, they don't send your email to anyone nor do they send you spam.  Click on play now, then sit back for an hour and 20 minutes of sheer musical enjoyment.

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