Monday, 24 November 2014

Starling Murmuration

A Hill, a Hat, or a 1950s Flying Saucer?
Yesterday evening I went to see the local Starling murmuration.  This is the first large flock I've seen since the early 1980s when they used to perform at Queen's Gardens in Hull.  Allegedly as many as 180,000 have been counted, but this figure seemed a bit high on my visit.  Although we saw a few Starlings in the village there were none on site for over an hour.  We heard at least 4 Water Rails, and heard Bearded Tits, but failed to see one.  We saw several Marsh Harriers, and our former GP pointed out a perched Peregrine Falcon.  a Heron or two flew slowly past, and 2 separate flocks of a dozen Whooper Swans flew in an easterly direction.  Golden Plovers and Lapwings were also in evidence.  
One of the Smaller Early Flocks
Nothing happened for a long time, but about 3.45 we noticed our first small flock of maybe a dozen individuals, then more and more flocks were seen until a very large flock began to form, and then to pulse and change shape.  The altering shapes are well documented, but what isn't so well known are the accompanying noises.  These included the swish of the wings as they fly immediately overhead, the distant whoosh as they all suddenly change direction, and then the very loud chatter as they 'talk' in the reedbed.  Unfortunately, the whole spectacle probably lasted less than 20 minutes, but if you are lucky the event may last much longer.  However, be warned - on some evenings the Starlings fail to put on a show at all!  
An Arm with Mitten
 Fitting the Gap in the Cloud
 Large Flock
 All Over the Sky
 Filling the Sunset
 Starting to Swirl

 Added Detail
 Lower Slope Growing
 Hill or Jellyfish?
 Falling Apart
 Couple of Hills
 Coming From Afar
 Red Sky at Night
 Pinocchio or Ping Pong?
 Falling from Heaven
 Fingerprint Forming

 Spread Out
 Small Flock into the Reedbed

Friday, 21 November 2014

Twice Bittern

Yesterday, we had our final day over the Humber Bridge, and despite the gloomy conditions people didn't leave disappointed.  The bearded Tits were too far away to be photographed, but I was able to take record shots of nearly everything else.
 Looking in the Mirror
 Spotting the Enemy
 Does my Neck look Big in This?
 Less Ruffled
 Calming Down
 Back to Normal
In Flight

Siberian? Chiffchaff
 Marsh Harrier
 Rock Pipit
 Water Rail