Monday, 14 October 2013


Well Sunday was a wash out and today isn't much better, luckily I had plenty of motorsport to watch with the conclusion of the BTCC, Japanese GP and Moto GP but also tucked away late at night ITV showed the BAFTA winning SENNA documentary, so I stayed up late trawling through images to work on whilst waiting for the highly acclaimed documentary. Now normally such programmes fail to live up to the hype/expectations.....
 This however was immense, I never really got to see Senna race, being too young and was kicked out of the living room by my dad when he crashed at Imola, he knew what had just happened.
The on board footage from 70's was frightening, truly heroic stuff but what was equally fascinating was the small scenes like the drivers meetings and the arrogance of the FIA president and dare I say the blatant cheating by the "prof" this part of the documentary showed in moving images what I only read about in books and magazine articles
I remembered in the Murray Walker interview how he was saying the BBC hadn't shown all the footage of the crash at Imolas, but in the documentary there was footage of a horrific crash of (I think it was Pat something can't remember the name as the footage shocked me) another driver with the back rest of the car still strapped to him as he wa flayed across the track, sadly they did show Roland's crash in full at Imola during the qualifying session which as a kid I do remember seeing (hence my dad kicked me out of the living room on the Sunday). It was horrible watching the on board footage from Imola leading up to the crash as you knew what was just about to happen, the footage of the crash, well it left me in me tears, pouring down my face, a lost of a legend. As this documentary showed, I believe, so much of Senna behind the scenes that I got an accurate impression of not only the man himself but how drivers were treated, it had to be a complete nightmare for the likes of Jackie Stewart etc when things were even worse and the on board footage was amazing too, it left me clinging to the chair with one eye half shut, if you haven't seen this documentary, even if you're not a motorsport fan, YOU SHOULD, it was the best thing I've seen on TV for a long while and very sad too.....
 Back to the birds, why flock shots, old flock shots at that, well I need a new direction with my flight shots, I still like catching individuals in flight but wish to start catching birds in flocks. WHY?
 Well there's something about a flock of birds that often has me taking my eye away from the viewfinder and just watching in amazement, it's the movement, the shapes, the co-ordination and the sheer numbers (sometimes) that leaves me gob-smacked. I often just enjoy standing/sitting watch these acrobatic displays, but it's time to start to photographing these spectacles...before it's too late.
"Too late"?....well we've seen with starlings that flocks/murmarations are getting smaller and smaller but it's not just starlings it's the same with waders with numbers decreasing year on year, how much longer before such displays are a thing of the past?
Sadly in Northants wader flocks are very rare these days, with either singles or very small groups, so I'm going to have to venture further from home for waders, breaking a current plan that I stuck too so far this year, despite many temptations (staying close to home and using the car less) however I do have a flock I wish to catch in flight now winter is coming and that is the Gulls that pass over my house...exciting hey!?
 Well as species goes, not really, sorry Gull Appreciation Society, but to be fair we have a lot pass over my housing estate en masse, first thing in the morning they pass over from the direction of Pitsford Reservoir and head in the general direction of Clifford Hill, then in the evening they pass back over heading towards Pitsford, probably back to the gull roost at Pitsford.
To give you an idea, verbally how impressive it is I had my neighbour knocking on the door the other evening, "Doug, quick have a look at this" as the gulls flew over, people have even had their smartphones out recording it and to be fair as a "birder" myself I often find myself going "wow", I'll probably have to count them one day....probably :o), so my next big project is flocks.


  1. Flocking good post Doug. Can't beat a good flock.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
    Great captures.

  2. Douglas, How many birds do you have to have before you get a good flock? I'm guessing that you know of a few places where a good flock can always be found ?
    I had a good flocking experience just the other day...Noooo?? It suddenly started to rain quite hard and out of nowhere Starlings arrived in a flock of around 300 at first they sat on the surrounding rooftops (I live in a cul de sac) just like the Red Indians were depicted appearing over a ridge in old westerns, they then dropped down and started to bathe in the roof gutters, using the water running off the tiles just like a shower! and as soon as the rain started to ease (5mins.) they were gone. I did manage to get a short piece of video, just! It was fascinating to watch, if only for a few minutes!

    I enjoyed my Sunday of armchair motorsport, those touring car boys certainly know how to race and put on a show. Unlike those prima donas in F1 they're not scared of a little(?) rain.
    I failed to notice that the Senna film was on, but you've jogged my brain cells and I remembered that I'd bought the CD about five months ago and it's been sitting in the CD cupboard unwatched ever since!! I was going to watch it today but my wife also wants to see it so I looks like I might have to wait till the weekend now!

    Good luck with your flocks, I hope you get some good ones. I guess you know that there's a big Corvid roost at Pitsford (in the reserve) I've been there a couple of times when they, noisily, leave early in the morning, it's a great sight and sound!...[;o)

  3. Not sure when a few birds become a flock to be honest I'll have to look into that. It is one advantage of rain, it sometimes puts birds on the ground, clever little trick that of the starlings using the gutters, I also like the way the imitate other birds calls and sounds, our ones copy car alarms (says alot about my area), Corvid roosts are very noisy and amazing the Pitsford one is good but nearby Overstone has two equally good ones near Sywell Country Park a fantastic sight and sound.
    Touring car dirvers are mad and it helps to create some fantastic driving, I will always say a BTCC event is one of the best to attend both for action, value for money and the access the "ordinary" fan gets, none of this "pushed back away" like some events.
    You'll enjoy the Senna video trust me I went through the whole range of emotions watching the film and the bits in the drivers meeting is an eye opener for sure.

  4. The starlings around here also mimic car alarms, yet I never hear any real alarms! Great flocking photos! I do love the way the waders create a kind of Mexican wave in the sky!

    1. The call starlings make as I walk past their roostig tree on the estate always makes me smile.
      I love your description of the flock looking like a mexican wave, it really did look like that too.