Friday, 8 January 2016

Nearly a murmuration

The Safari wasn't able to get out early doors with the horrid weather this morning but at lunchtime were able to have a few minutes but there was very little out there on a very choppy sea.
Going home time drew near and looking out of the office window we saw that a sunset was developing so we gave CR a txt to see if he fancied a go at the Starlings at the pier. He did and a little later we were camered up waiting on the chilly prom for the Starlings to start arriving.
The sunset was lining up nicely but unfortunately it failed to get any better than this and as the Starlings began to appear so did low cloud on the horizon so any murmuration would have to be high to be against the pale sky to be able to see it well.

It wasn't long before flocks began to arrive, some only about 50 strong others with a couple of thousand or more members. This lot were part of one of the larger flocks.
Most didn't go to the pier but landed on the beach down at the water's edge - what do they do down there, some were wading like Dunlin or Sanderlings but they weren't feeding. Is it some kind of terrestrial murmuration although they don't seem to move round much. It's difficult to tell what's happening cos if you get close enough to watch you'll flush them so totally defeating the object. 
It wasn't just the Starlings going to roost, there were loads of gulls passing overhead too beneath an impressive glowing cloud.
The dropping light was the cue for the Starlings to start leaving the beach but rather than one huge impressive mass it was like they left in the flocks on the order they arrived in.
The murmuration started but didn't amount to much, plenty of birds but they didn't really start bunching up and whirling around.
It didn't get spectacular but never-the-less it was great to be out to witness the arrivals and the enigma on the beach, which we reckoned judging by our guestimates of the arriving flocks was in the region of 20 - 25000!
Where to next? maybe a guided walk to lead tomorrow round the nature reserve but there's some dissent in the ranks about a trip to the far south-side instead - watch this space.
In the meantime let us know who's doing the unexpected in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

A fine set of photos & a very enjoyable way to spend an hour Dave.