BIRDS 118 – STARLING 2 (MONO)

 

 


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I like the contrast here between the gaunt, inorganic, linear, metal structures of the pylon and the small, rounded and very much alive birds – that’s “the big picture” here.

But do enlarge the image by clicking onto it twice in the usual way, to better see the massed ranks of these little birds clustered on the right side of the pylon – with all of their little beaks poking out.

There is another Starling image from this pylon here .

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 280mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset; Court Farm, southeast of East Huntspill, on the Somerset Levels; 25 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 115 – STARLING (MONO)

 

 

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Large flocks of Starlings roam the flatlands of the Somerset Levels in autumn.

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 .

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique:  Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Dramatic profile; Court Farm, southeast of East Huntspill, on the Somerset Levels; 25 Oct 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 313 – LAPWINGS, TEALHAM MOOR

 

 


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Driving westwards across Tealham Moor, and a long line of birds, high up above, caught my eye.  There was no traffic on the narrow road, so I stopped, watched and waited, wondering where they might be headed.  They came lower and wheeled about overhead, and I saw them to be Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus), a type of large plover, that form large flocks in winter.  I started taking pictures.

Here, the flock is flying across in front of a bare, winter tree, and there are a few smaller, darker birds below them, which are Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

Compositionally, the flock is almost “resting on top” of the tree, the combination of the birds and tree making a ‘T’ shape within the image.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 30 Nov 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 32 – AUTUMN 5 (MONO)

 

 


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This photo is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Walking in south Bristol, walking in the autumn, with the flocking of Starlings a sure sign of the season.  A small flock were up on top of a telegraph pole, quite a way off, and only carrying the little Olympus TG-5 there was no chance of a reasonable shot at that distance – but I took some just in case they were all I was going to get – insurance!  Of a sort …

And then I  started walking slowly towards the birds.  Starlings are often around people, and I thought I might have some chance of a closer shot.  Shooting as I went, I did get some closer shots, and two of those are here .

Moving very slowly, I was almost at the bottom of the pole before the birds started shifting uneasily (as my friends will tell you, I can have that effect …. ).  But I could see – I could feel – the explosion coming and readying the TG-5 for one last blast, I held it up in front of me, looked up into its screen and took two or three last small steps forward before … well … what you see above.  They circled, and promptly came down onto a neighbouring rooftop – as ever, as always, on the lookout for food, and for predators too.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 4 .

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: TG-5 at 46mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Monotone film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Oct 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 30 – AUTUMN 4 (MONO)

 

 


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These birds are Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), perched on phone wires, and their flocking together is a sure sign of the arrival of autumn.  They breed in solitary pairs and are then seen in the company of their noisy, begging young.  But as soon as the chills of autumn set in, larger flocks appear – which is a good survival tactic, since a flock has more eyes to spot danger, and an individual within a flock stands more chance of surviving an attack from say, a Sparrowhawk, than a bird on its own – the explosion of a flock into flight can confuse the predator visually, and whereas the predator may take another individual from the flock,  a bird alone is a single, sure target.

Starlings are very common here and I like them – but, then again, is there a bird that I don’t like???  Well, Ostrich was a bit over the top, certainly could be a bit pushy at times, and certainly not to be trifled with, but all other feathered friends are just that.  Starlings are very garrulous and sociable, always busy bustling around – for me, they are an inextricable part of “here”, I suppose.

There are earlier autumn posts here: 1 2 3 .

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto each image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 320 ISO; Lightroom, using the Monochrome film simulation; Capture NX2 (for when the Monochrome simulation needed help – I knew I should have used Silver Efex Pro 2!!!); south Bristol; 29 Oct 2018.

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ARCHIVE 299 – CROW SCARING STARLINGS (MONO)

 

 

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Starlings are flustered and scattered as a Carrion Crow flies in amongst them; Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels; 1 Nov 2013.

There is another image from these moments here.

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s High Structure Harsh preset.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 201 – FLYING IN FROM ROOST (MONO)

 

 

Flying in from roost, Tadham Moor
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Canada Geese and Starlings flying in to feed on Tadham Moor in the early morning; 9 Jan 2014.

Birds that are active during the day spend the night, often communally, in some kind of safe place called a roost.  Many thousands of the gulls that scavenge daily around Bristol, for example, spend their nights out on the waters of  a large reservoir, where they are safe from attack from land mammals.  Then, as the day breaks, they leave their roosts and move to the areas where they are going to spend the day feeding.

I was down on Tadham Moor at dawn yesterday and birds flying into the area from their roosts provided two wonderful spectacles.

First, loud honking calls in the distance heralded the arrival of lines of Canada Geese, a species introduced to Britain from the Americas which has become very numerous during my lifetime.  And here are five of them flying in from the west, no doubt intent of the many wet, indeed flooded, fields that I found around me down there yesterday.

I never use watermarks on my blog photos because I think they spoil images tremendously.  Instead I post pictures at less than perfect quality to deter thieves – and I have also reached the happy state of mind where I’m not really bothered if my images are stolen or not – I simply can’t be bothered contemplating this eventuality … Life is too short and there are certainly better things to think about.  For me, the vast satisfaction of photography lies in the creation of images – the thought of stealing someone else’s holds no appeal whatsoever – even if The Great Gods Cash And Profit are involved.

Anyway, because this image has quite small subjects, I’ve posted it as a full quality jpeg and if you click on it, it will open at larger size in a separate window – and you’ll be able, for example, to see that the last goose in the line has its beak open – it was calling as I took the shot.  You should be able to switch back and fore between this enlarged window and the blog post.

But beautiful as these geese were, the second influx of birds – Starlings – were really entrancing.  For off to the southeast, in the Westhay area, there have been vast winter roosts of Starlings for some years now – I see a figure of 400,000 on the net – google “ham wall starlings” and don’t forget to look at the Images tab!

Anyway, standing in the Magic Carpark not long after dawn, I was treated to flocks of 50 or 100 at a time of these little birds bustling northwestwards out of that roost and hurtling over the flat countryside at below treetop height.  Flying low over the dark countryside, they were often impossible to pick out as they approached, such that the first hint I had of their presence was an absolutely wonderful low rustling in the air – like the rustling of silk – as they passed low overhead.  Listening to that soft sound as they shot busily by, twisting and flowing around the trees in their path, was simply magical and certainly spiritually uplifting.

Compositionally, the tree anchors us in the lower right corner of the picture, and the geese, large and rather ponderous, are flying out from it into the frame.  In complete contrast, the much smaller and swifter Starlings are hurtling up from the bottom of the frame, almost around the tree’s periphery.  And there is a great contrast between these little, speeding shapes and the much larger geese – if this were aerial warfare, the geese are the bombers and the Starlings the fighters.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Overexposed EV +1 preset.
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BIRDS 46 – CROW SCARING STARLINGS (MONO)

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Starlings are flustered and scattered as a Carrion Crow flies in amongst them, on the Somerset Levels’ Tadham Moor; 1 Nov 2013.

There is another image from these moments here .

D800 with 80-400 Nikkor at 400mm; 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro’s High Structure Harsh preset.
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