18 October, 2002

Noisy cloud of starlings

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Brown ploughed field with green stribe of vineyards behind. From the road to the village of Puiseulx.

This year we have not met any starlings in the Côte des Blancs. All the Chardonnay-grapes must have been picked to make champagne. In our vines we have the les Bouvreux - the grapes of second generation, that has matured since the grapeharvest - left on the plants. Chardonnay however usually supply less buds of second generation than Meunier.

The starlings navigate in the hilly lands between the Montagne de Reims and Reims itself. The flocks are so big, that they are even noisy. An almost infernal chirping, despite the alluring acrobatics in the air, as the birds circle, rise and drop.

As in our vines, the vineyards of the villages of Taissy and Sillery too have a new generation of mature grapes. On top of that these vineyards are next to ordinary farming land, that currently swell of winter crops. The birds scream, descend and eat.

Later this week Météo France warns about the first frost. I suppose, that will send the birds further south, giving the rest of the winter wheat a break.

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