|Murmeration - N Prendergast|
On Friday afternoon, the three Amigo's Rhodie, Ann & Neil met up at Woolston Eyes to mainly see the Starling Mumuration but also would take anything else that came along beforehand.
Just a beautiful afternoon with the sun out and blue skies to be enjoyed by all.
We arrived within minutes and gained access by the padlocked pedestrian iron suspension bridge, we made our way to each hide in turn around the reed beds until we came to the new and fully covered hide, this we decided would be the best place to view all of the birds looking over the main body of the water and reed beds, also if the truth be known it was a lot warmer as there was a bit of a chill wind about.
The hide was well positioned with the sun and the back and to the left of the viewing area.
From there we saw beautiful male and female Bullfinches, Green Finches, Reed bunting, Common and Greylag Goose, a male Ruddy duck, Shoveler, Black Headed Gull, Common Snipe, Gadwall, Shell Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant and Pochard but to name but a few.
Later, around 17:20hrs a few small groups of Starlings appeared, which then in turn joined up with other small groups that seemed to come from nowhere. Within 15 minutes the sky was full of birds, no squawking from them as you would imagine but just the sound of the wing beats as they flew nearby and overhead.
Luckily for them there were no Sparrowhawks about to pick the odd one off.
Round and around they flew, instantly changing direction without hesitation. Then after about 20 minutes they dropped like stones into the reed bed and the show was over ... folks.
By this time it was quite dark and we could feel the cold and damp air against the deep and darkening clear blue sky. At this point we decided to walk the circular path on the island and try and see the Barn Owl there but were out of luck. By this time we were quite cold after sitting for a few hours so could not wait to get back to our cars and be pampered by their luxuriously heaters and to thaw out while making our way back home.
A good day was had by all and we saw lots of birds while we we there and obviously spoilt by the nice sun and not the usual rain that we have all experience throughout the past few months.
|Snipe - N Prendergast|
Some of you will recall going to Leighton Moss in the wake of Autumnwatch in the hope of a little murmuration and that's what we got literally, to put it politely.
I had been reading reports of upto 120,000 starlings murmurating at Woolston Eyes ( permit only reserve ) and decided to go along and have a look, before they disappeared back to the continent, with Rhodie and Neil P on Friday afternoon.
We arrived earlier than necessary to see what else was about and were treated to a stunning pair of bullfinches on the feeders, both Snipe and Jacksnipe making tantalising appearances close to the hide and a Ruddy Duck, along with a supporting cast of ducks, grebes and black headed gulls.
Waiting for the main event we started to get feelings of Déjà vu, were we going to be unlucky again? Slowly but surely small groups started to appear, swirling and merging to form larger groups. We were not disappointed this time and were treated to stunning display for an hour or so before they dropped into the reeds. Most of us will have seen this on the television but to be there and hear the sounds of all those wings overhead is truly awesome. Catch it somewhere if you can.