Today, I want to share a very special experience. Last week I had the pleasure of witnessing one of nature’s great Autumn spectacles, a murmuration of starlings. During Autumn and Winter, starlings flock together at twilight, performing amazing aerial ballets that attract more birds to the group until they descend, all together in a moment, to their roost for the night.
It starts with just a small group, circling in the sky in a way that seems to attract others.
Soon many more have joined, and fantastic shapes are created as they bank and wheel about.
This was a very small murmuration, with numbers in the low hundreds. Flocks in the thousands are seen at certain key locations in Britain at this time of year. Sadly, however, starling numbers nationally have fallen by 70% in recent years and they are now counted as a threatened species. For more information, see the RSPB’s website.
I feel very privileged to have seen this waning, natural wonder.
I murmur a thanks for sharing.
We were in Europe in the early 2000’s, and I saw a number of such displays, and each time I was driving, unable to stop, watch, and photograph.
I’ve not seen them here, although there are places where they occur.
And how perfect that you captured this unusual behavior in such beautiful light, over water reflecting the light. It doesn’t get much better than that!
WOW, awesome captures Rachael!! Very special :d
I love the soft colours with the bright lights. I didn’t know that starlings were on the decline. I can remember flocks of them gathering on trees in the early evening and the noise could never be thought of as a murmur.
And to think, starlings are considered an invasive species here! I’ve seen these sorts of gatherings and dances, but haven’t known what species they are. Seems that the gulls even do something similar now and then. But your shots are breathtaking, with or without the murmuration!!!
Wow, you were so lucky. Really nice shots.
Love the different collective nouns for different types of birds. Previously I’d thought a murmuration only applied to a group of middle school students in conversation whenever I was trying to speak to the class.
The starling murmuration is indeed a sight to behold. Very nice pics.
Thanks, Ross. I am quite hopeful that their numbers will continue to swell.
I love seeing the starlings at this time of year, but I’ve yet to get anything like as good a photo as you have. 🙂
I have been back again since and their numbers are swelling. If they are still there on our return in the new year, they will really be amazing!
wow! amazing starlings flocks.
Pingback: More murmurations | Focused Moments