Starling Roost

To the reed beds of Leighton Moss…

…in the final embers of a glowing winter afternoon…

…we took our brood, with the addition of one of A’s friends. They enjoyed playing hide and seek, climbing in a willow…

…sitting on a soggy log…

…and counting the ducks in the meres.

Small skeins of geese wheeled around overhead, but when they weren’t honking there was only really us to spoil the peace…

From Grisedale Hide we watched little egrets, mallards and geese. And a pair of swans deigned to grace us with their presence:

Teal were feeding in the water just below the hide. In the low light only a stationary subject would do…

Better luck next time!

The kids were of the opinion that the chief reason for our visit was tea and cake in the cafe, but in fact it was to witness the starling roost. The show wasn’t as spectacular and didn’t last as long as it did on our visit of a year ago (shortly after the inception of this blog), but none the less it was fabulous to see.

Quite difficult to photograph a great mass of tiny birds in low winter evening light.

This is merely one small fragment of the swarm. Without seeing the living puddles of birds, meeting, coalescing, pulsing, stretching, pouring across the sky – you can’t really get a flavour of the experience. Unfortunately, they didn’t come directly overhead when the accumulated noise of thousands of wings and calls more than off-sets the dangers of the peculiar hail that accompanies this cloud. In fact, almost as soon as we had noticed the flocks beginning to assemble they were dropping out of the sky to roost at the far end of the moss…

(Another image which doesn’t quite cut the mustard, but which will have to do for now.)

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Starling Roost

3 thoughts on “Starling Roost

  1. Tom says:

    Hi Mark
    Great set of pictures as always and it’s always nice to see the kids getting fresh air… we had n house full today but no one was up for an outing… wall to wall noise. ha!

    I saw in one of the daily papers this week that somewhere was getting massive flocks of Wood Pigeons and the locals were getting worried.

    I have a few pics of Greater Spotted Woodeckers on today if you get the chance pop by.

    Tom
    Wiggers World

  2. Concerning how those flocks of birds do that undulating pattern flying thing…

    Here is a good explainination if you have the time. It is a twenty minute lecture but quite fascinating, I think.

  3. beatingthebounds says:

    Ron – thank you so much, what a fascinating talk. I can see that I shall be returning to ted.com to view more of the talks.

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