Two photographers have managed to capture the "perfect shot" after several months of "murmuration chasing" around Lough Ennell, near Mullingar, in Co Westmeath.
Friends Colin Hogg and James Crombie captured the moment when a huge flock of starlings took on the shape of a giant bird over the lake on Tuesday evening.
In Colin's video, James can be heard exclaiming "that looked like a bird", as tens of thousands of starlings swooped over the water.
James, who was named press photographer of the year at last week's Press Photographers Association of Ireland awards, tweeted that the pair had spent "an amazing few months chasing the murmurations and our patience eventually paid off".
His photograph appears of the front page of today's Irish Times.
What an amazing few months it has been chasing the murmurations around Lough Ennell looking for the shot with @hogg82, our patience eventually paid off. Thanks so much to the @IrishTimes for the wonderful usage today pic.twitter.com/5ldPF6J6PS— James Crombie (@INPHOjames) March 4, 2021
Colin, a keen amateur photographer who works in the geophysics section at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, said it was "a wonderful sight, so close to home".
It is believed murmurations of starlings form for several reasons.
Grouping together offers safety in numbers as predators, such as peregrine falcons, find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands.
They also gather to keep warm at night and to exchange information, such as good feeding areas.
The number of starlings in a roost can swell to around 100,000 in some places.
"That looked like a bird!"— RTÉ News (@rtenews) March 4, 2021
Watch the amazing moment a murmuration of starlings took on the shape of a giant bird over Lough Ennell in Co Westmeath. pic.twitter.com/OcmkHIbvBa