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Colour: A late Christmas present

by Darren

I think today I’ll make some posts which show the extraordinary colours that are available in nature.

This image was taken shortly after sunrise on Boxing Day two years ago down in Somerset.  There’s a place that I like to visit near Glastonbury every year and in the evening just before sunset the site is full of people who come from far afield to see the murmurations of starlings coming in to their roost site.  As you’ll probably have seen on TV, they make the most fantastic shapes on some evenings and it’s a sight to behold.

At this particular site there can be as many as 6-10 million birds, and yet while the evening is really well attended there doesn’t tend to be a soul there if I visit at sunrise.

On this occasion I forewent the obligatory over-consumption of alcohol on Christmas Day so that I was able to get up early and drive the 45 minutes or so to the roost site (I was born and brought up in Somerset and my parents still live there).  I set up and was rewarded with this outstanding sunrise with all of the beautiful colour that you can see, and the silhouette of the mystical Glastonbury Tor.

Then all of a sudden the starlings all decided it was time to get up and leave for the day.  Sometimes at night you’ll get groups come in, do their thing and then settle and some more come in, but seeing this many birds take off at once is certainly a must-do experience for any wildlife lover.  Even better, they decided to fly straight across the image I had composed.

Unfortunately not all of these birds will have returned to the roost site that evening.  It’s hard to see on an image of this size on the internet, but if you look at the clear bit of sky just inside the watermark you’ll see a larger and blacker mark than the flock of birds above.

A bird of prey was looking for breakfast, and I’m sure it thought it’s Christmas had come again.  Mine certainly had!