Weekly Photo Challenge: Weightless

Oh to be a bird, flying high in the sky, defying gravity. But all is not so simple for smaller birds. Predators are waiting at every turn so some birds have a way of trying to confuse the predators. They fly in large flocks, twisting and turning through the sky to form amazing patterns. Here in the UK starlings perform this ritual before settling down for the night on their roosting spots.

Starlings in Flight

According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands.


The only way to see this is to get out there, into the open countryside. That’s where the birds are. You’ve got to go to them.

I photograph all my birds and animals in the wild, in their natural environment. Some photographers will cut branches from nearby trees and bolt them to a small table. They’ll then put food at the bottom of the branches and sit back, behind a blind, with a long lens, and wait. To me, that may be bird photography, but it isn’t wildlife photography. – David Young

Last night was cold but worth it. The starlings started flying about dusk 4.00pm. Just a few birds at first, but gradually the flock got bigger and bigger as more starlings joined the murmuration. That’s what it’s called, a murmuration, at least here in the UK it is. Have you ever seen birds flying like this. What do you call it?

The display continued until about 4:35. Then suddenly it was all over. They just disappeared. Where had they gone? Simple really, they settle for the night on the wetlands where they roost. Here they’ll stick together and keep warm overnight. Oh! And according to the RSPB, this is where they swop stories about the best feeding areas.

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this week challenge.

He Feeds The Birds How do you overcome fear-
a touch of grace photography Eventide
The Linda Life Fog on Towers
A Visual Discovery Blog Weightless x Smoky Silhouette
Following Seas Weekly Photo Challenge
D’Al Art Candour
The Hood ~ MLJ Photos Laws of Gravity
Minimalism in Flight Weight(less)
Piroska Markus Gravity or illusion-
Silly Old Sod Weight(less)


17 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Weightless

    • Mike Hardisty January 11, 2016 / 15:09

      Thank you Norma. A little bird, excuse the pun, told me about this happening every night. It’s only about ten minutes drive from me so nice and easy to get to. Unfortunately it’s out on the wetlands, right next to the sea. so if the wind is blowing it sure is cold. Something else I learned. Take an umbrella. If they fly right over you, as they did several times last night, it can get rather messy.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. arv! January 11, 2016 / 13:26

    Mike I agree with you that setting up stuff for photography is no fun..being able to capture in natural environment with best possible resources is true essence of photography! Nice capture for the theme, Mike!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty January 11, 2016 / 15:13

      Thank you. I don’t often do bird photography but this was too good an opportunity to miss.

      Liked by 1 person

      • arv! January 11, 2016 / 16:12

        For a photographer… opportunity is difficult to miss. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Chuck Spindler January 11, 2016 / 16:24

    Wonderful captures, Mike. Murmurations are fascinating to watch. Makes you wonder how they decide who the head choreographer is going to be for their performance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty January 12, 2016 / 09:23

      As I watched them the other day Chuck I thought the same thing. Who decides which way to turn. Sometimes though they’d get it wrong and the group would split but they would soon come together again. Amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Hardisty January 12, 2016 / 19:16

      Thank you Mitza for taking the time to visit and comment. I’m glad you liked the photographs

      Liked by 1 person

  3. yoyodreams January 13, 2016 / 12:00

    Absoutely fantastic photographs! Wonderful framing that captures both the action and landscape well!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. theresagreen January 13, 2016 / 17:22

    So that’s where all the local starlings gather now! There was a lovely roost on the Old Colwyn pier, with the birds putting on a regular evening display, but they departed when they started work on the ‘new’ beach and haven’t returned. Great images.


  5. Mike Hardisty January 13, 2016 / 17:52

    I didn’t realise they were Theresa. It was only a chance remark by someone that I overheard in the supermarket.


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