One of the UK’s spectacular natural sights is the autumn murmuration (gathering) of huge flocks of starlings preparing to roost as night begins to fall.

murmuration 1We received a treat at the end of October when we encountered one at WWT Martin Mere, while we were actually waiting to see the pink footed geese coming in at dusk. This was at a relatively early stage. More and more groups of starlings joined in, and the gathering went on for more than half an hour.Here’s a video (1 min) showing the scale of this murmuration. You will find even more spectacular examples on the web.

The low light makes photographing the birds at any level of detail difficult, impossible with a travel zoom, but you can get some wonderful impressionistic images.murmuration 2

The RSPB reports that “The recent decline [of 80% in starling numbers] is believed to be due to the loss of permanent pasture, increased use of farm chemicals and a shortage of food and nesting sites in many parts of the UK.” It is imperative that this decline be reversed, or future generations will just never witness what is a truly awe-inspiring phenomenon.

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