Category: tourism

Murmuration!

Alex and Lisa have put together a remarkable video

Yesterday, in came an email from my son, Alex, about an amazing starling murmuration at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Lisa took the video and together they uploaded it to YouTube.

Enjoy!

Having watched the amazing video I then did a little bit of research. I came quickly across the science of murmuration and have included it below.

Murmuration refers to the phenomenon that results when hundreds, sometimes thousands, of starlings fly in swooping, intricately coordinated patterns through the sky.

Maybe you’ve seen a murmuration video before. But this one is especially beautiful. It was shot earlier this month in Wales, at Cosmeston Lakes in the Vale of Glamorgan, and posted on Facebook by the BBC Cymru Wales. (It’s not included, Ed.)

It’s all about science. Just how do the starlings manage to fly in such an amazingly coordinated way?

A few years ago, George F. Young and his colleagues investigated starlings’ “remarkable ability to maintain cohesion as a group in highly uncertain environments and with limited, noisy information” — a nice description of what goes on in a murmuration.

Going in, Young et al. already knew that starlings pay attention to a fixed number of their neighbors in the flock, regardless of flock density — seven, to be exact. Their new contribution was to figure out that “when uncertainty in sensing is present, interacting with six or seven neighbors optimizes the balance between group cohesiveness and individual effort.”

Young et al. analyzed still shots from videos of starlings in flight (flock size ranging from 440 to 2,600), then used a highly mathematical approach and systems theory to reach their conclusion. Focusing on the birds’ ability to manage uncertainty while also maintaining consensus, they discovered that birds accomplish this (with the least effort) when each bird attends to seven neighbors.

Wonderful!

Our trip to Utah, part six.

The final part of our trip.

It was a most wonderful trip and one that motivated us to find some other journeys in the North-West that we could take. Any suggestions?

For Jana looked after the animals without any issues whatsoever.

oooo

oooo

oooo

oooo

The roads are straight and lonely in this part of Nevada!

oooo

oooo

Our final photograph of the trip; Mount Lassen covered in snow!

It was an amazing experience.

Our trip to Utah, part five

And yet more of the photographs.

Yet another one of this fascinating rock face.

oooo

The picture below is primarily of the different rock type that is laid crossways on the top of the ridge. It was the closest that we could get without a major climb.

oooo

I think this is Zion National Park. The pillars above and the stream below.

oooo

A much-photographed site!

oooo

The final set maybe the day after tomorrow.

Our trip to Utah, part four

And a few more photographs.

I’m sure that there’s only so much you can take of our trip to Utah and back. So I have selected the more interesting photographs and will share them with you today and the next two days.

Saturday, 28th September

Vance, of The Flute Shop, gave us directions to some ancient petroglyphs that were painted on a rock wall quite close to where we were staying.

First, that rock wall. The petroglyphs can be seen at the bottom of the rock face.

Then a close up. It was amazing that although there was a great deal of name carving close by there was none on the petroglyph images themselves.

They were about 700 years old.

Sunday, 29th September

Today it was the long drive down to Kanab, about 200 miles, but  we stopped frequently to take photographs of the never-ending marvels that we saw.

oooo

oooo

oooo

Tomorrow some more photographs.

Our trip to Utah, part three

We are very close to the point of this trip.

Friday, September 27th.

As soon as we were on our way, first thing was to find a bed for the night in the area of the Capitol Reef NP. This was a popular time of the year and so many places were full. Our ‘fall-back’ position was to sleep in the truck but I really hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

Eventually we found a room for just tonight in The Flute Shop and Motel in Torrey, just 10 miles from the National Park. Run by Vance and Elaine Morrill it was more than just a motel, it was a scene of much fascination. For Vance made flutes the American Indian way.

But more of that later.

Oh, and there’s a dog story as well. Again, I’m writing that up as a separate post.

On to the Capitol Reef Park.

Or rather a pause before we descended off the heights that surrounded this part of Utah down to the park.

The pause was to take a photograph of an intense rain storm that had a spot quite close where the remnants of a rainbow could just be made out. It’s hardly visible in the above picture.

It was simply stunning.

Beyond words.

I promised you a little more about Vance Morrill and his flutes. But apart from the photograph I will delay that for a while (until the draft of the post has been approved by Vance).

Here is Jean looking at them.

Finally, Vance promised to draw some routes in the morning to some of the lesser known spots in Capitol Reef.

Our trip to Utah, part two.

Continuing the journey.

Thursday, September 26th.

So, on the road again soon after 7am.

The countryside was enormous, a phrase that I will probably repeat. Our cattle experience of yesterday was repeated, albeit in a different way, today. Cattle feasting on the grass over hundreds of acres.

Then we came across this fine statue of a horse.

It was on the property of Crane Creek Ranch, another enormous homestead.

On and on we went.

The scenery gradually changed and more rocky land came closer to the road.

But we eventually got to the Salt Lake flats and continued to Loa, Utah, population less than 600 persons!

Where we stayed at the Sunny Motel. There was only about 20 miles to go, to the East, before we reached Capitol Reef National Park.

Tomorrow is another day!

Our trip to Utah and back, part one.

The story and photographs.

I’m going to post every other day or so trying to give an idea of what we experienced.

Monday, September 23rd.

This was a barn that we stopped at to photograph on the way through South-Eastern Oregon.

We had Brandy with us and he was loving the journey.

But after we reached Lakeview where we stopped for the night we found that he didn’t enjoy the motel.

Tuesday, September 24th.

So in the morning there was no question about what we had to do. Drive the 4 hours back to Merlin, reunite Brandy with his doggy friends that he missed too much, and then drive the 4 hours back to Lakeview!

(As it turned out this was a very good decision by us. There were too many places where dogs were not allowed!)

Wednesday, September 25th.

First thing in the morning we took a closer look at the water that is the origin of the name Lakeview.

Then followed a long drive, a very long drive, out of Oregon and into Nevada. They were in the main lonely roads.

But stunning scenery alongside the lonely road.

Including a spectacular sight of the mist in the bottom of a particular valley.

Then we came across a herd of cattle being moved along the road.

It was unique to our eyes.

So, that’s the start of our travels.

More in a couple of days time.