Sunday, 27 June 2010

Just Starlings

After last weeks ‘wintery’ weather when I went down to St. Marys, I thought I would give it another go with a much better forecast today – slight wind and about 21 degrees, though only occasional sun. Unfortunately, this week the tide was nearly out, not ideal for shore waders, but there were a large amount of Starlings feeding on the seaweed.  This part of the beach was thankfully empty, so my appearance made them take to flight so I had to settle down with my camera, in position and wait their return as they got used to me.

Patiently I waited, and slowly a few at a time, they started returning, from a distance but gradually worked there way up the beach towards me.  No sooner had they got within a good distance of my lens then someone came down the bank (not a normal pathway) and scared them away.  I was not best pleased.  Settled down again for another go and after another twenty minutes or so they were close again.  This time a dog walker went out of his way to walk closely past and once again off went the Starlings.  Third time lucky, I settled down again and waited again and, again slowly they returned, though not only on the seaweed on the beach but behind me where there was a trickle of fresh water running, forming small pools of water and where they were drinking and bathing.  So while waiting for the others to get closer I was able to get some images of Starlings taking a quick bath.


A flash out of the corner of my eye got my attention and I could see a Wagtail flying around the rocks.  Now I was surrounded by photo opportunities as the flock of starlings on the beach were now back in range.  Unfortunately, the Wagtail kept its distance and even with the 500mm plus 1.4 converter, it was still a distance in my viewfinder.  No sooner has it come, it was gone.


A few more shots of Starlings both adult and juveniles drinking and having a bath.  They seemed very orderly as some waited on the bank while the others took their turn.  For anyone who has a phobia of birds, in particularly the sound of their wings beating, this was not the place to be.  They were flying backwards and forwards over my head from the rock pool to the beach and back and there was over a hundred.


By now there was no shortage of photo opportunities as I turned my attention to the mass of chirping Starlings that were by now, only about four meters away.  There was a lot of squabbling amongst them especially by the juveniles who seemed particularly aggressive.  However I was finding it difficult to actually catch the conflict with my camera as they either shot out of camera as they flew up, or were blurred moving out of the cameras depth of field.


It’s only when you see Starlings close up in sunshine that you can see they are actually, quite a colourful bird, green, blue, yellow, purple as well as back.  After about an hours shooting, they all suddenly took to the air – nobody walking by this time, they all just decided to leave or they were just being a bit ‘jumpy’.  All in all quite an easy photo opportunity of a bird most would not think as interesting, but watching them over the morning and seeing them close up gave me a new insight.



Post a comment