Nature

By Chris Adams


A bike mechanic captured the spectacular moment that hundreds of starlings formed the perfect shape of a DOLPHIN or porpoise in full flight.

Wildlife enthusiast Dominic Reardon snapped the mind-blowing murmuration in the skies above Sandside on the fringes of the Lake District in Cumbria.

PIC BY DOMINIC REARDON/MERCURY PRESS

The 20-year-old was encouraged to sit out and watch the birds after hearing they had been gathering in huge numbers on a nightly basis.

And he couldn’t believe his luck when the starlings organised themselves into a stunning silhouette of a dolphin – complete with beak and fin.

Dominic, from Arnside, Cumbria, said: “I expected them to make some cool shapes but I was absolutely blown away when they did this.

“I was just clicking frantically, hoping that I’d get a picture to do it justice so that other people would believe me.

“They’d been making a few really interesting shapes and I was kind of just hoping they would make something really striking or obvious.

“I didn’t expect it to be a dolphin though. It’s the first time I’ve physically witnessed a murmuration like that and I was mesmerised.

starlings

PIC BY DOMINIC REARDON/MERCURY PRESS

“They gather above a place called Carr Bank so I waited for them a couple of miles away in Sandside.

“I actually saw them flying around when I was driving. The group starts out really small and then lots of little groups join up together. It’s amazing.”

Dominic, who first picked up a camera three years ago, spotted the starlings on February 15 with his pal Kieran Fallows.

He described how the birds followed the light at the sun set at around 5.30pm.

Dominic said: “It was all about getting something to stick. They way they move around makes it quite difficult to get a precise shape.

starlings form dolphin shape in sky

PIC BY DOMINIC REARDON/MERCURY PRESS

“It was just this massive black silhouette shifting around in the sky but I was really chuffed when I looked back and saw how well the dolphin picture came out.

“A few other people have said it looks like a sperm whale or a swordfish – someone even said it’s a penguin on its front – but for me it’s a dolphin.

“They’re doing it every night at the moment and Cumbria is one of the best places to see starling murmurations.

“I spent about an hour that night capturing them. I’m really chuffed with it.”