Saturday, 23 November 2013

Starling Murmaration

For several years now, Jayne and I have been talking about visiting a Starling roost/murmaration. There are several to be found around the country, but we've never managed to find one close by. This year, however, we heard about one containing around 20,000 birds at Middleton Moor, near Stoney Middleton, which is about half an hour's drive from our house.

We decided to pop across this afternoon and we were very pleased that we did. We arrived at 3.30pm, and the first few birds began to arrive straight away. Over the next hour literally thousands and thousands flew in over out heads before dropping down into the reedbeds. We estimated tens, if not hundreds of thousands, but I can't be sure. Most birds flew straight in to the reeds, but several thousand did a bit of a murmaration before dropping in to roost. Amazing sight, and I even managed to get splattered, if you know what I mean- what an honour!

Here are a few photos. Please count the birds and let me know how many you get! Here's a link to a short video from tonight as well.

Starlings at Middleton Moor

Such high numbers of  Starlings always attract the attention of predators, and we saw 1 Sparrowhawk flying through the birds. A Peregrine Falcon was seen to take one bird on the other side of the roost by other observers, and a Buzzard also flew past.

Unusually, a Curlew was also heard and then seen flying around the site. Quite late in the season I would have thought?

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