IS it a hawk...or starlings striking a predatory pose in an attempt to scare off their enemies?

This amazing once-in-a-lifetime photograph was captured by hawk-eyed County Gazette chief photographer Geoff Hall as thousands of starlings gathered ready to roost in Taunton back in February 2009.

Geoff was overawed as a succession of constantly changing whirls and swirls patterned the dusk sky, culminating in what looks like a terrifying giant raptor as the birds begin to funnel into their arborial roost.

After snapping the flock, known as a ‘murmuration’, Geoff described the spectacular as “the eighth wonder of the world”.

He added: “It was brilliant to watch these ever-changing patterns – it almost needed to be set to a piece of classical music.

“Standing directly underneath them is a bit eerie because apart from hearing the fluttering of their wings you can also hear their droppings splattering all around you.

“It is a real spectacle and my pictures really don’t do it justice.

"From a photographer’s point of view it is a challenge trying to capture their movement in very low light...and the patterns get bigger and more spectacular the darker it gets, to the point that the sky seems full of them.”

The birds were roosting in the Obridge area of Taunton, and Geoff took the picture from Obridge Link.

It appeared that Taunton’s starlings have decided to ‘go local’ for some reason, finding themselves a more convenient location to the internationally-known roost at Westhay on the Somerset Levels.