Starlings are sweeping around crazy shoals


Branching out further and further from Pink Floyd. Today it is the turn of Dire Straits.

Well, in my last post I hinted at the possibility of starlings.  Yesterday I went out at the correct time (finally) and waited.  Fortunately I also had my phone with me and, being bored waiting, I checked Facebook. Attenborough Nature Reserve had posted! I was in the wrong place!  Here we go again, I thought.  I walked briskly (I don’t run, knees won’t take it) to the Delta hide.  Now there is a silly place to watch from. The hide is about 15 feet tall, and totally obstructs the view over half the area.  A bit further on is a flat expanse of grass facing the lake, and facing the correct reed beds.  And people. Lots of people.  I do not know how it did not occur to me before that I was always waiting by myself, and that maybe others might be equally interested.  Seems so simple now; no people = wrong place.

The display started about 15 minutes before sunset (dusk, my a*se!) and lasted about half an hour. In terms of birds it was spectacular, including some low swoops over the watching crowd. The best part was definitely the end, with groups breaking off and dropping to the reed bed. It looked like they were being sucked out of the sky.

Photographically, I learned a few things, including that these are not easy to photograph! Light levels were low, so higher ISO.  The sky was grey and overcast, which both lowered light levels and also reduced contrast between bird and sky.  Finally, to get in any sort of formation needed a wide angle, which makes the birds smaller in the frame. Therefore you need a lot of bird density or overlap to really see the birds.  But I got some images, so I can tick off starlings, and I can go back when the sky is clearer, and hopefully the numbers have increased. Then it is timing, to get the shapes and the overlaps.  Next is the pesky kingfisher!!!






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