Early to bed

Dashing home from work a few days ago, I just had time to grab my camera before heading straight back out towards the starling roost in Aberystwyth, the promise of a dazzling sunset impossible to resist!

In hindsight I didn’t choose the best location this evening. From my usual spot on the wooden jetty, my view was obscured by the blinding sunshine and it was virtually impossible to shoot any action around the pier itself. With the days lengthening as Spring approaches the setting sun’s trajectory is moving further out to sea meaning that the pier no longer provides adequate shade for photographing towards the sunset, at least not from this vantage point.

I arrived just in time to find a mass of starlings already gathered in the skies above the promenade and fortunately it was easier to shoot in this direction away from the low sun, although getting the right exposure was still tricky.

Starlings appearing in the skies over the promenade
Starlings swooping overhead
A rippling motion occurs through the flock
Making shapes

The light may have been been less than ideal but the skies were clear and starling numbers were still impressive despite it now being late in the murmuration season. It won’t be long now before these numbers begin to drop off as the winter migrants leave our british birds behind to return to the continent.

There were a few brief bursts of activity among the flock but nothing really dramatic and the starlings unfathomably headed to bed early, settling under the pier whilst there was still plenty of daylight.

Massing into one giant flock of thousands
Starlings forming a speech bubble shape above Aberystwyth’s old college roof
Or a tornado perhaps?
Starling speech bubble
A small breakaway flock
Stragglers dash to join this mini murmuration
A ball of starlings

I stayed to watch the anticipated golden sunset but instead with empty skies and not quite what I had in mind. A shame, but hardly an evening wasted…

The setting sun behind Aberystwyth’s Royal Pier

Photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © 2023

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