• Claire Stott

Inside the starling roost

Tonight I decided to take a rather different approach to documenting the starling roost here in Aberystwyth, rather than focusing on the skies I chose to look instead at the hidden world inside the roost itself.

Although I did capture a few grainy images, photographing in the gloom did not produce particularly pleasant images, although I do quite like the sense of motion and chaos in this first image.

These few poor quality photos did not really convey the scale, chaos and indeed the noise of the roost itself in the way I had wanted and so I decide to abandon the photographs and begin to film the starlings instead…

I recommend changing your viewing settings to HD.

As you can see from the clip below, there are thousands of starlings all packed in among the struts and structures beneath the Victorian pier, and the sound of all of these birds chattering simultaneously is almost unbearable.

The only thing which does not come across in the video (fortunately) is the intense smell from years of accumulated bird droppings is pretty intense. It’s not rain you can see in many of these video clips, but quite literally a shower of poo!

Whilst the starling flock appears harmonious whilst performing their whiriling murmurations in the skies, among the iron perches of the roost the atmosphere is far from tranquil. With so many birds jostling for space and every available perch taken conflict is inevitable as the birds fight each other for the best spots.

Here you can see many squabbles breaking out, particularly as new starlings come in to land on the already overcrowded ledge.

Viewing the starlings beneath the pier in this way really does give you some sense of the vast numbers of birds here.

So just how many birds do you think there are? Good luck counting them all!

— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © 2020 www.greyfeatherphotography.com

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#wildlife #birdwatching #roost #aberystwyth #flockofbirds #birds #starlingmurmuration #ornithology #nature #roostingbirds #starlings #aberystwythpier

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