A pier with a view!

A few evenings ago I wanted to capture the nightly starling spectacle here in Aberystwyth a little differently. Rather than observing from my usual seafront vantage point, on this occasion I hoped to capture a unique perspective right from the heart of the action.

Thanks to the assistance of Hannah and the Royal Pier bar I was granted access to the sun terrace, (which is usually closed off to the public during winter) for a view with a difference! I hoped that my presence wouldn’t scare off the starlings and deter them from descending into their roost, so I kept a low profile under the veranda, concealed from their sight and also protected from the inevitable shower of poo which would soon be falling from above!

Sitting above where the starlings eventually settle down for the evening, the smell of years of accumulated droppings from among the pier’s iron structure was pretty intense, but any discomfort soon was soon forgotten…

Camera poised and ready, I waited impatiently for the arrival of the birds. First one solitary bird appeared on a what appeared to be a reconnaissance flight checking ahead for danger. Soon one bird became several and then as if out of nowhere the sky was suddenly filled with swirling masses.

As the clouds rolled in, so did more and more starlings, all moving in unison and spiralling around the pier. With each fly past the birds descended lower and lower until they were almost right overhead!

As they soared by the rush of wings and chattering calls the sheer noise became quite deafening and it was quite the thrill to witness this spectacle of nature at such close proximity.

Sound on!

If the starlings had spotted me, they took little notice as they began to settle down on the pier railings to preen and socialise before finally heading into their sleeping quarters beneath.

I also recorded a timelapse video of the event which I think better demonstrates the scale and elegance of the display which is difficult to convey in still images.

Best viewed in HD!

All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © 2020

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