Second, I was amazed at the creativity and breadth of name suggestions I received. Give yourselves a pat on the back (or a scratch behind the ears, if you prefer) because you've all sent in fabulous suggestions. That made it a very difficult task for me to choose a winning name. Initially, I was able to eliminate a few because there were some names in there that had already been chosen for animals on my farm, and having two animals by the same name would be really confusing. Onyx, Black(berry) Pearl, Opal and Corsica all already live here! Somebody happened to choose Kelly's ex-wife's name. That was quickly eliminated too, because we don't really want her namesake living here! Then it began to get difficult.
I wrote down all the names and selected some that sounded more masculine to me, and decided to put those aside for future ram lambs (in case Kelly will let me name one, although it's his job to name all male critters on the farm). I consulted with a few key advisory committee members - namely, me, myself, and I. I then had a committee with me and myself. There were some heated disagreements during the committee meeting. Finally, the committee was able to agree on 10 picks, and we rolled them around in our collective mind for a while.
For the record, here are the top 10 picks, in alphabetical order:
I chose that name for 3 reasons. First, it sort of matches with the other black lamb's name - Branwyn - which I had already chosen for her 2 weeks ago. Secondly, I really like the etymology of the word, because it derives from Welsh (many of my ancestors are Welsh) and comes from the Welsh word "
What on earth did I mean about the birds taking over? Well, I was sitting quietly at my desk earlier this week, contemplating sheep names of course, and there was a sudden cacophony outside. It sounded like I had left the window open, but I hadn't, because it's still too cold for that. I looked out, and grabbed the camera immediately. There were so many black birds filling the sky that I was just riveted. I thought it was a "regular" flock, but it went on, and on, and on.... Here's my first photo as I looked out the window.
I took some more photographs, and initially thought that they were starlings. I've seen starlings flocking in the spring like that, but never in such numbers. I think it was probably about 2 minutes before the river of birds slowed down. I thought it was remarkable, but didn't realize that this huge conglomeration of birds would be sticking around for a while! Seriously, click on this photo to enlarge it. You will see that there is a virtual river of them flying by. I can't even begin to estimate the numbers.
Yesterday, on my drives to and from work, the cloud of birds was back, and they were all in a field that I was passing in my car. The field was nearly black. I kid you not! I have never seen so many birds in one place. As my car passed, they all took off in that seamless way that birds have, and flew over my car. It was then that I realized they are not starlings - instead they are common grackles. I have now seen this mass of birds several times - in fields, in trees, and flying overhead. They make a raucous noise, constantly chattering as they fly and as they sit. I am not sure what has caused such incredible numbers this year, but I can assure you this kind of flocking has not been in this area in the past two years, since I have lived here.
Is anyone else seeing this phenomenon? Here they go over the newly finished barn!
And here they are again! If you "biggify" this photo and look in the background, you can see them all the way out to where the trees meet the sky. Everywhere! Quick - call Alfred Hitchcock!