Tuesday my walk took me (actually - I took it) to the huge Roman Catholic graveyard up on the hill. I enjoy walking graveyards. They are generally - well - silent. As I was leaving at sunset I saw an extraordinary sight. There were hundreds of sparrows, flocking for their winter flight. They flew in three or four recognizable groups, swooping and circling. They would land in trees and on power lines, their chittering making much racket. For no reason I could discern they would rise in a group, making the power lines vibrate when they left. They looked like literal swarms of bees.
They kept their maneuvering to the height of trees and the power poles. While this was going on, a flock of hundreds of crows (usual in the area) was flying toward the sunset. They were much higher in the air, though their cawing was constant. So there was this stream of crows with the occasional burst of sparrows swarming beneath them. The sparrows kept this circling and roosting pattern for fifteen minutes or so. By the time the crows had passed all of the sparrows were covering the trees and power lines. Then, in a space of a minute, they rose as one and also aimed into the sunset, this time not to return.