It's hard to imagine how these tiny shorebirds flock without Air Traffic Controllers. There can be crowds of several hundred but they all seem to fly as one, the flock constantly changing shape, size, density and direction. They never seem to bump into each other either. [not sure this qualifies as Blurvision, but adding it anyway]

15 comments so far...

nachbarnebenan April 17, 2011, 09:37 AM
What tells you there're no controllers? Large flocks work somewhat like a tree, they're devided into clusters and each cluster acts as a leaf to the next larger one. Given the reaction time each cluster aligns on one bird and follows it slightly delayed which gives these impressive movements.
janress April 17, 2011, 09:44 AM
WOW great !
Quantumleaper April 17, 2011, 11:01 AM
My take is this: the birds' "processing units" are fast enough to react to spontaneous direction changes in their vicinity. You could say they have a much higher "clock rate" than humans, so they can also react faster. I often notice this with smaller birds like titmice, they appear somewhat hectic and nervous. But that's just the way they work... they have a very fast metabolism, they never seem to sit still for more than one second, it's like a constant motion.
bcAnna April 17, 2011, 03:03 PM
This is impressive! all that motion stopped by your camera so that we can enjoy them.
mramshaw April 17, 2011, 06:00 PM
Thanks very much guys.

@nachbar, thanks for spurring me into GIMPing. They can form into clusters (a flock often divides mid-stream) but I don't think your leaf analogy is quite right. They do follow leaders, but the leaders rotate, there's a big advantage to flying in flocks as they can utilize vortex eddies to save energy, but it's simply too tiring for one bird always to be the leader, so leadership rotates (like in a cycling peloton or how cross-country skiiers take turns breaking snowpack or crust).

@Quantumleaper, you're absolutely right, Hummingbirds are incredible, they have absolutely no fear of humans as their metabolisms are approximately 10 times as fast as hours (600 bpm compared to approx. 60 bpm). I think we must look like slow-moving glaciers to them. Perhaps when they hibernate (estivate?) overnight we look like we're moving real-time to them.

Anna, thank you very much [for the fav also], it was my pleasure and I am glad you enjoy them too.

mramshaw April 17, 2011, 06:03 PM
@nellyb, thanks for the fav.
marco_vdw April 18, 2011, 01:22 PM
oh, very pretty
mramshaw April 18, 2011, 10:04 PM
Marco, thanks for the comment and fav.

@fdavid, @richy, @dosron - thank you all for the fav.

mramshaw April 23, 2011, 05:56 PM
@brinjal, Thanks for the fav.
mramshaw May 10, 2011, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the fav @Dorota.Z
MickPt plus June 28, 2011, 07:43 AM
mramshaw June 28, 2011, 07:29 PM
Thanks Mick!

This picture should really not have worked, luckily I clicked the shutter anyway.

mramshaw July 07, 2011, 09:43 PM
Thanks for the favourite @15, you have moved me into a very select company.
Sonja November 30, 2018, 01:55 PM
Great flight shot!
mramshaw November 30, 2018, 06:38 PM
Thanks Sonja, you really cannot beat being in the right place at the right time.
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