Photographers Rodney Clery (left) and John McCauley (right) with Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland.

Exhibition of murmuration photos at Mullingar Library

Local people interested in the attractions of nature are lucky to have Lough Ennell nearby, Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland said at the launch of an exhibition of photos taken there, in Mullingar Library last night.

Niall is the head of Communications and Development at BirdWatch Ireland, a regular contributor to ‘Mooney Goes Wild’ on RTÉ Radio 1 and co-host of the podcast ‘In Your Nature’, and he was in Mullingar to launch the exhibition by local photographers John McCauley and Rodney Clery.

He said: “You’re very lucky in Mullingar to have Lough Ennell nearby – it is one of the best, if not the best, place to view Starling murmurations in the country. This natural phenomenon can be seen from November to March. You have to be patient to see it and even more patient to get such fantastic photographs as these,” said Niall.

He complimented Rodney and John on their photographs, which he said really captured the three-dimensional aspect of the murmurations.

“Of course, what the photographs can’t capture is the incredible sound of the murmuration and then the deafening silence once it is gone,” he added.

Asked why the starlings fly in these formations, Niall said: “There are several theories. Of course, there is safety in numbers so escaping prey is probably a factor, but really, it is a mystery.”

Niall was delighted to be presented with one of the photographs from the exhibition.

Limited numbers of the photographs are on sale – only five copies of each photograph are available. The mounted photographs are €80 and all of the proceeds will go to the charity Tanzanian Heavenly Homes ( )

The exhibition is open until June 8 during library opening hours (details here).

Westmeath heritage officer Melanie McQuade said: “This exhibition is not to be missed – it was scheduled to mark Biodiversity Week (May 19-28) but we are delighted to retain the exhibition until June 8 to give more people a chance to enjoy these beautiful images.”