We went on our first ever instameet on Saturday, and it was a lot of fun. Now, there are two things any would-be instameeters should be made aware of when out on a nature expotition*. First, a bunch of photographers on a single-track path are likely to stop utterly randomly and without warning when something catches their eye. This could lead to collisions and pile ups – so always keep a good few paces back from the person or pet in front of you, or try to squeeze past as gently as possible without making them lose focus. Secondly, when you are out capturing nature, there are absolutely no guarantees that the said nature would like to be caught on camera (even though it’s freezing cold, and you’ve been waiting round for ages and really ought to be rewarded with an amazing sighting).
The idea had been to go out with the lovely groups from @Igersbirmingham and @igerscoventry, headed by @jimpanda, to watch the natural wonder that is starling murmuration. We wandered around the beautiful nature reserve at Brandon Marsh for a while – nice paths (single-track) and with several hides, before gathering eagerly at the edge of the marshes.
Now, the plural noun for starlings, is a murmur, and a murmuration is when hundreds, or thousands of starlings flock together during winter and perform a majestic aerial acrobatic display – no one quite knows why – possibly to generate heat – before heading home to roost. The site was a likely one because our group leader had been there the year before and been richly rewarded, and as starlings are creatures of habit, they tend to come back to the same spot year after year.
I suppose no one had told the starlings all this, because they more or less failed to turn up. It could have been that the recent mild weather and super moon (here’s a photo we’d taken a few days ago) had put them off-kilter, or they may just have been a feeling a bit lazy on that particular Saturday.
Anyway, only a few turned up – and the murmuration was more of a whisperation – but a few birds flying beautifully were better than nothing – and it had been a nice day out which has made us want to try again! So thank you to the instameet organisers, and keep posted for our next attempt at viewing a murmuration.
*’expotition’ is now cats say ‘expedition’ – I don’t know why, they just do!