As promised I went back to check on the flocking wagtails at my university and try and get some pictures. Yesterday I made the mistake of leaving my memory card behind, so it was another go today. At 15:45 when I checked, there were no birds to be seen, but by 16:00 they started arriving en mass to flock on the 5 trees in the courtyard.
The light was poor and rapidly falling with every passing minute.
Most of them flew in, stopped by on the nearby buildings, perching on the roof, before descending down onto the trees.
very few of them actually descended onto the ground.
Once on the tree, their main activity was preening.
If not preening, there was quite a bit of bickering and fighting, perhaps to occupy a position of choice.
As the light diminished, they seemed to settle down and become less active.
Even at a high iso, my camera was struggling.
…thus I decided to use the flash.
The first time I used it, the birds went silent…
…the second time, some of them actually flew away, as if frightened by it.
…but they soon got used to it. Don’t they make a treat to watch?
I`ve never seen pied wagtails flock before and so many of them together simply is amazing.
As I mentioned earlier, I do see a few of these birds on my way to the university, and the other day we even saw two near our feeder.
However, I wouldnt have guessed even in my dreams that so many pied wagtails were present in the whole of Bristol!
The birds seemed to be taking their time settling in..
…and even though the lights were switched on, they seemed to be in no discomfort.
perhaps the lights and the enclosed courtyard offered them a warm location to roost, free from fear of predators and chilly winds.
I didn’t hang around long and had to leave soon but I`ll be keeping track. Clearly this roosting place is a recent one. I wonder how long they will roost here.
I checked on them a bit later today. It was 17:00 . It was raining but they were still in the same location. It looks like once they choose the roost they really stay put. The trees offered a little shelter from the rain. One thing I noted about them were that none of them were huddled together inspite of the chiiling temperature (<6 degrees). There seemed to be atleast half a foot distance between each bird. I suppose that confirms the fact that all the early bickering could be over choosing a good location. When I left they were absolutely still.
Here’s and interesting read on flocking pied wagtails