Sometimes Odd, Always Entertaining

There’s nowhere in Brighton that encapsulates the seaside, like Brighton Palace Pier. 

What I like about it, are the sounds; children screaming with excitement as they get buffeted by the winter storms, or whirled around on the fairground rides.

The different accents and languages from the thousands of tourists and day-trippers

The squawking of the seagulls as they snatch doughnuts or chips from yet another unsuspecting victim

The DJ with his sometimes odd, but always entertaining choice of music

But most of all, the sound of thousands of starlings as they pass within a few feet of you, as they come into roost under the pier, during the winter months

It’s all free and it’s all year round

Paul, 2022

Murmuration Addict

I only visit my favourite place between November and March, and only when the tide is low and the sea is flat. It’s a little rocky ledge at the base of the Albion Groyne, the stone jetty just to the west of the Palace Pier. It gives the clearest views of the starlings who dance their crazy patterns every winter’s night before roosting beneath the pier. The ledge is only a few inches above beach level but it’s high enough for people to walk past in front of you without blocking your view. 

The murmurations are, to my mind, the best show in town and it’s surprising the number of people in Brighton who have never seen one. Personally, I’m addicted. I’m there most winter nights, weather and work permitting, twenty minutes before the sun goes down readying my tripod to film them in the hope that a peregrine falcon will share my interest. For the starlings to create their tightest balls of frenzy in the sky usually takes the intervention of a bird of prey. It doesn’t happen often, maybe 5 times a year, and when it does the peregrine more often than not leaves empty handed, or clawed. 

Throughout lockdown, a group of fellow starling fans would meet on the beach every day, standing in a socially distanced row along the shore. I owe my sanity in those times to the starlings, and to my little ledge. 

Alex, 2022