365/6 and 7
Last winter, I happened upon a small local murmuration of starlings. This year, by all accounts, there are far fewer starlings, only a fraction of the host shown here. This ‘inverted’ triptych is from images made on both 6th and 7th January 2014. Yes, I went two days in a row. Small though it was by national standards, this murmuration was still a breathtaking and very exciting show.
Last month, I posted some images of our local starling murmuration. I popped back three times last week and was delighted to find them still there, doing their thing, only in greater numbers. Yesterday was the best yet as the sunset kindly provided a colourful backdrop.
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.