Tim's One Photograph a Day

Another Visit to see the Starlings Studland Murmuration.

Starlings Studland Murmuration.

Starlings Studland Murmuration.

Thousands of Starlings above Studland.

I make no apology for returning to this theme. The Starlings Studland Murmuration is attracting increasing audiences. The ferry company must be doing a lot of business as a result of this natural phenomenom! (See also last week).

As can be seen in the photo, there was quite a crowd tonight. The people you can make out here represent just a small proportion of the audience for tonight’s performance. Tonight, I was continuing on from the learning curve from last week.

There was a big difference tonight. The sky was virtually clear, resulting in slightly better lighting, and a much enhanced contrast between the birds and the background. There is also much more colour, as we are looking in the direction of where the sun set about half an hour previously. But, as can bee seen here, depending on the angle of the starlings, then can all but disappear from view.

As before, the starlings Studland show started off with just a small number – maybe only a couple of hundred. These were joined by small groups from time to time – five here, half-a-dozen there. Sometimes, it looked like they were being catapulted from ground. Then, another group of similar size to the first would appear as if from nowhere.

Interestly, when a larger group joined the existing murmuration, a small group at the other end would break away as if in reaction like the “kinetic balls” executive toy! This is what has happened here in this photograph. A large group has arrived on the right, and a section has separated on the left. The two groups at this point are slowly coming back together again.

The starlings Studland spectacle is something to behold. It may start and build up slowly, but the end is as quick as it is dramatic. They swoop lower and lower until as one they disappear. Almost as if they have been called home to bed! A spontaneous round of applause from a very appreciative audience, and then everyone filed off.

If you haven’t seen this wonder, and would like to, then you need to be on the dunes at Shell Bay, Studland, or on the boardwalk from the car park. We haven’t tried this second location yet, but many people congregate there too. You really need to be in place before 4pm to get a good spot!

Photograph Details

  • Taken: 22 Jan 2017
  • Camera: Canon 5D MkIII
  • Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm 1:2.8 L II USM
  • Focal Length 50mm
  • F/3.2
  • 1/200 Sec
  • ISO 800

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