Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Starlings galore!!

My expedition to the Somerset Levels last week seems to have turned into an overnight addiction!! Not only did I take my husband and daughter back to see them roost on Saturday (that night they decided to change their roost site and fly to a completely different area :( ) but the following morning, we got up at 5am and went back AGAIN to see the 'Dawn Explosion' This is the opposite of the evening roost...when millions of starlings wake up and all fly up in the air and off to their daily feeding grounds. It was a fair way in the distance, but an impressive sight all the same, and most of the flocks flew right above us. (Interesting advice from the RSPB warden...if you look up, keep your mouths closed!!!!!) YUK, what a thought!! Apparently, starling poo is mostly composed of some kind of nasty acid - not  only is it unwise to swallow this, but I learned it also has a detrimental effect on the wetlands where the starlings roost.

 A couple of photos of the 'Dawn Explosion'

On our walk back through Ham Wall, we saw a small group of Roe Deer - again, quite a distance away, but an added bonus to our early morning adventure!

Of course, this was another inspiring experience which had to be translated into painting... so this morning, back at home, I got out my paints and brushes and yes, you guessed it...started a couple of starling paintings. The first is of one of the starlings I photographed in my back garden last summer. This is a scruffy little male who has a cheeky character. Its only the first layer, but its coming along nicely. I was attracted to this bird in particular not only for the colour of the plumage, but the quirky, pointy, scruffy looking feathers. Most of the other starlings in the group were smooth and sleek - this little character looks like a bit of a 'punk rocker'!

The next painting is of a Sunset (from Shapwick Heath last Wednesday)...again, its only the first layer and is a bit rough, but it looks good from a distance! I'm planning to paint a starling murmuration over the sunset - which is what we saw!

I'm back off to the nature reserve again tomorrow...I wonder what treasures I'll see this time???

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