Category Archives: Local wildlife

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge (COB): week 15

As always I have difficulty choosing only one image – which is why I have so many external hard drives for my laptop!

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy my entry to Week 15 of Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge. I love candid photography and couldn’t resist sneaking one of this gentleman taking a rest in a rare moment of sunshine in “our wee country” (Northern Ireland). People from far and beyond will not have seen too many men with hankies on their heads but in the UK it is not uncommon in men of a certain generation. Ah well better than a sunburnt scalp!

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I enjoyed watching this New York Cop directing the traffic after a busy game at the near by stadium. It’s just the facial expression that makes me smile.odd ball (2)

This pigeon was showing off in my garden one day, he did actually attract a mate and I captured that activity on camera too – but again I just love the expression on his face.

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And this moorhen looked so odd landing on one leg! Not sure whether or not he even had another leg but a skilled landing regardless 😉

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Inspired to blog again

It is quite some time since I wrote on my blog, actually I only ever wrote 4 despite the very best of intentions! However, two things have inspired me to return, firstly, in the last couple of weeks a few people have suggested that I write a book. Well, if I can’t manage more than 4 blog posts in a row then I’m not too sure about whether I would ever succeed in writing a book. However, the comments set me thinking. Secondly, when photographing the starling murmuration in Belfast recently I spotted a fellow female photographer… Murmuration 5

The rails over which the drunk woman climbed threatening to jump.

Im always glad to meet ‘regular’ people and especially those with a common interest in this particular event. Standing at dusk alone on the Albert Bridge Belfast, with expensive camera equipment can make one feel a tad vulnerable. In fact one night at the same location I was somewhat distracted from my task by a woman, with a substantial amount of drink in her, deciding she wanted to jump into the River Lagan. She got as far as climbing over the rails (the ones you see in the above photo) and was wavering over a sheer drop into the river -a critical situation for sure and no matter what I said didn’t seem to make much sense to her and indeed none of what she said made any sense to me. The alcohol had taken over. She then became rather aggressive at my attempts to intervene which actually had the effect of her storming off – relief. This was only a temporary aversion of the crisis, however, as she returned a number of times and stood on the inches of concrete on the wrong side of the rails. That night I found myself relocating myself, my tripod, camera and lenses wherever she went to try to ensure she was safe. Albert Bridge is literally a “stone’s throw” from one of the more difficult areas of Belfast and in truth many stones have been thrown right there. Nevertheless, it is a sight of one of most dramatic of nature’s phenomenons. In fact, it is one of the few remaining city centre murmurations in the world.

Murmuration 1
This is as close as I have come so far to taking the photo I really want – a pattern from the starlings, some colour in the sky and of course the bus crossing the bridge

Anyway, I digress (a regular problem of mine – a bit like Ronnie Corbett without the humour!). As I loitered by the Albert Bridge I spotted two people including a lady with camera. My assumption due to the timing of their appearance was that they were walking towards the bridge to view the murmuration. So, I spoke to them only to find out that they knew nothing about the murmuration. Certainly this was going to be an opportunity for a photographer and traveller to Belfast not to miss. So they waited around for the murmuration to begin. It really is mesmerising although an umbrella is often recommended! I’m pretty sure they enjoyed it thoroughly and I was glad I had been able to introduce what seemed to be seasoned travellers to something almost unique to Belfast and a very dramatic event of nature. So, we parted company after the murmuration and the partner of the lady with the camera happened to mention that she had a blog. Needless to say I went home and looked it up only to find out that Debbie Smyth is quite a prolific blogger and a pretty impressive photographer to boot. That night, because of the lenses we each had on our cameras, we each took completely different images of the  murmuration. How lovely it was to chat to a fellow female photographer with not dissimilar interests, connect with her through wordpress and that I am now inspired to restart blogging and share some of my pictures.

Murmuration 2
Lift off – during the murmuration the starlings roost a few times on the top of this residential building. The sight of them taking off is pretty impressive

I now have to figure out how this blogging thing works and try to improve my following etc. Thank you for reading and all positive advice welcome!!

Jennifer Murmuration1 1

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A different night, different lens, a concentration of a few of the thousands of starlings that gather
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Sharing the experience with another friend not from Belfast – another first