Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Flocking Pied Wagtail photos

 

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.

Pied Wagtails flocking

The light was poor and rapidly falling with every passing minute.

Pied Wagtails flocking

Most of them flew in, stopped by on the nearby buildings, perching on the roof, before descending down onto the trees.

Pied Wagtails flocking

very few of them actually descended onto the ground.

Pied Wagtails flocking

Once on the tree, their main activity was preening.

Pied Wagtails flocking

If not preening, there was quite a bit of bickering and fighting, perhaps to occupy a position of choice.

Pied Wagtails flocking

As the light diminished, they seemed to settle down and become less active.

Pied Wagtails flocking

Pied Wagtails flocking

Even at a high iso, my camera was struggling.

Pied Wagtails flocking

…thus I decided to use the flash.

Pied Wagtails flocking

The first time I used it, the birds went silent…

Pied Wagtails flocking

…the second time, some of them actually flew away, as if frightened by it.

Pied Wagtails flocking

…but they soon got used to it. Don’t they make a treat to watch?

Pied Wagtails flocking

I`ve never seen pied wagtails flock before and so many of them together simply is amazing.

Pied Wagtails flocking

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.

Pied Wagtails flocking

However, I wouldnt have guessed even in my dreams that so many pied wagtails were present in the whole of Bristol!

Pied Wagtails flocking

The birds seemed to be taking their time settling in..

Pied Wagtails flocking

…and even though the lights were switched on, they seemed to be in no discomfort.

Pied Wagtails flocking

perhaps the lights and the enclosed courtyard offered them a warm location to roost, free from fear of predators and chilly winds.

Pied Wagtails flocking

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.

Pied Wagtails flocking

 

Update:

27/11/08

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.

P.S.

Here’s and interesting read on flocking pied wagtails


Share/Save/Bookmark

6 comments:

Post a Comment