Saturday, 28 December 2013

Starling flock at Willington. We arrived at dusk and waited on a platform by the reed bed. The sky was clear and the only birds to be seen were passing gulls, then, small flocks of Starlings started to arrive from every direction and soon built into a large gathering. More and more Starlings arrived until a vast flock had congregated swirling and forming compact shapes one moment then spreading and elongating the next, splitting and rejoining. After a short while they started to stream into the reeds right in front of us which was an astounding spectacle. Parts of the flock broke away and continued to attract more incoming flocks. Eventually the whole flock poured into the reed beds and almost disappeared without trace except for their loud chatterings. Parties of birds crossed from one reed bed to the other which set off a chain reaction among the flock, causing the whole flock to shift position further along the reeds. I saw a Sparrowhawk pass right over the settled flock without disturbance. A squealing Water Rail and loud bursts of Cetti's Warbler song added to the atmosphere as we left.

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