Taking Flight

Enough of drones… how about the real deal?

I’m not a birder by any means but birds are always on my radar. I do find them fascinating. When I was growing up here, in central New Jersey, the range of birds was limited to jays, finches, sparrows, crows, woodpeckers, and the occasional turkey vulture. These days it has expanded to include hawks, osprey, and eagles. We also get the occasional grackle and starling invasion.

I was out at Mercer Lake in Mercer County Park this past Sunday for a rowing event and got to see a bit of *murmuration, NJ style – that being on a manmade lake and with power lines in mix. I assume these are starlings. It’s nice to know that even here, in the densest populated state in the union, Mother Nature cannot be held at bay.

*Murmuration is the pulsing and swarming you see in certain flocks of birds.

The scene:

Murmuration by Jon Roemer on Vimeo

Stills from Sunday evening:

Canadian Geese from central casting. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Canadian Geese from central casting getting things started. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #1. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #1. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #2. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #2. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #3. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #3. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #4. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #4. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #5. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #5. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #6. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #6. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #7. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.
Murmuration #7. Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park. West Windsor, NJ. November 13, 2016.

I’m really liking the silhouettes, the randomness, the way the mind tries to find a pattern, the beauty, and the sheer enormity.

The video was shot on an iPhone 7. The still images on a Canon 1DX Mark II with the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. Shot as raw and converted in Capture One. No retouching done, just optimization of the contrast and tonal range.