Ever since I saw the mesmerising murmurations so beautifully filmed on Countryfile I have wanted to see them for myself. Not living very close to Norfolk it seemed like a far off dream but then sometime last year I came across an interesting fact, Brighton has its very own flock of starlings that come in to roost on Brighton Pier. Oh how my heart jumped for joy, it would be a dream come true to see a murmuration but to mix it with a trip to the seaside, well that would be a most wonderful treat indeed.
Hubby and I had spent the day gently wandering along the beach, sitting, thinking, eating hot crispy salty chips and then we waited and waited. We knew we might be too late in the year and hadn’t dared asked the locals if the starlings were still flocking, for fear of disappointment. It was much more exciting to wait. Our tension grew and then giddy with excitement we saw them in the distance a flock of about 15 birds. I said they were starlings, hubby said they were seagulls and so we bantered as they disappeared. Were they seagulls? I wasn’t sure, they had that look of a bunch of starlings swooping through the air. Desperately trying not to succumb to the feelings of disappointment I carried on with the waiting. Two minutes later another tiny flock came into view and then I saw them, three or four birds fluttering across the evening sky intent on joining the small group that were weaving patterns in the night sky. Then another three or four fluttered by and my heart leapt, it was indeed the starlings – we weren’t too late!
It was wonderful to watch the flock build and build and then at times separate into two to form streams of birds flowing through the air at times intertwining before rejoining again. Most amusing to watch the latecomers, who’d not noticed the time, probably too busy feeding, flittering on their own across the empty sky trying to catch up with the murmuration in full swing.
Time stood still as I tried to capture in photographic form their beautiful shapes, my fingers racing over my cameras dials as I went from darkness to light and back again in a matter of seconds. By the end we were frozen, stood in the pitch black and watching the last groups fling themselves at the pier as they found their places to roost for the night. It was the most magical evening I have ever spent in my life, I am so glad we saw it.