Murmuration

We had a day out the other weekend. That’s the way I would like to think of it, but instead we cleaned the zoo in the morning and finished around lunch time. Of course we should have got ourselves ready and left there and then, but we were both exhausted and we sat down for ten minutes. Ten minutes turned into half an hour and then a little more than that and by the time we had grabbed a drink it was exactly 2.00 p.m. as we settled into the car. Granted, we were only going to Brighton, but it’s always further than you think and when we finally arrived on the outskirts of the city we found ourselves stuck in a traffic jam. The vehicles were hardly moving and at one point I suggested we should turn around and head for home. We might have done so had there been anywhere to turn, but instead we waited a little longer.

Eventually we were able to turn off and park up close to our destination. Some months earlier I had read about an art installation in this place and thought it would make an interesting subject to photograph. I had never looked around inside either, but with only 90 minutes until closing time, we weren’t going to do a lot of that! I always do my homework thoroughly, so I had already checked out their web site and although the venue could be hired for professional photo shoots, there was no mention of the public using cameras. In this age where almost everyone can at least take photographs on their smart phones, I normally assume this to mean it is allowed.

Unfortunately I turned out to be wrong, as we almost ran down the hill and up to the entrance where we saw a large sign saying photography was banned inside. I was gutted and felt more than a twinge of guilt having dragged my poor husband out on what had turned out to be a wild goose chase. He asked if I wanted to go in regardless, but the prices were steep and I was miffed that they hadn’t thought to put this information on their web site. Instead, I suggested we carry on to the pier and have a bag of chips. As we wandered along the front, we spotted a small flock of starlings over the sea and I remembered that they were supposed to gather here to roost in large numbers. Sunset wasn’t far off and as another flock joined with the first, I bolted the last of the chips and changed the lens on my camera.

It turned out that quite by accident we had arrived in the right place at the right time and over the next half an hour we were treated to the most incredible display. More birds were arriving all the time and at first they gathered to the east of the pier. Then as the light started to fade, they approached in waves and I was lucky enough to capture the image featured above. The one below was taken a little earlier.

Starlings2

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