Ideally, I'd like to see the starlings dancing in flight against the backdrop of a stunning sunset in the sky...I've seen photos, so I know it happens...but so far our sightings (although totally awe inspiring) have been on dull, grey or cloudy skies. Would this be the evening??? We would have to wait and see....
On our way to Ham Wall, we popped in to WestHay to have a little explore. As we pulled into the car park, a beautiful buzzard soared across a field and sat in a tree - as we fumbled to grab our cameras, it flew away over the tree tops. We found a hyde where we sat and ate our picnic, looking out across the wetlands..and it POURED with rain! We made a dash back to the car and drove on to Ham Wall (via a quick visit to the craft centre)
At Ham Wall, we organised our cameras and set off along the footpath towards the viewing platform. The warm evening light on the water glowed golden...it was really beautiful! Suddenly, my daughter spotted a bird over the reed beds to our right...it was a Marsh Harrier!!!! For all 3 of us, this was the first time we'd ever seen one - and here it was flying up and down, right in front of us! We all snapped our cameras madly, following its movements as it searched for a meal. After around 5 minutes, it plummeted into the reeds, where it stayed for a couple of minutes (probably eating its prey) until it eventually flew up and away, off into the distance! WOW, wow and triple WOW!!!!
Grinning like Cheshire cats, we continued our walk to the viewing platform to await the arrival of the starlings... and we were not disappointed! They came, they flew, they danced and they roosted...and we had a 'half-decent', slightly cloudy sunset. This evenings photos of the murmurations are probably my most successful yet...I still need lots more practice! (Any excuse to go back again!!) And more to the point, I have plenty more images to develop new paintings from! Here are a few of today's photos - I hope you like them.
|Zillions of Starlings!|
|How on earth do they count all these birds...?|
|Reed Bed Action|
I've also added this drawing which my daughter made after she saw the starling roost for the first time - I may be biased, but I think its brilliant!!
|'Starlings by Xixi' Graphite Drawing, A4|