Wednesday, 30 November 2011


This afternoon I decided to visit Aqualate Mere bird hide to watch the starling murmuration. I drive past Aqualate estate regularly in the afternoon and see groups of starlings flying over the road towards the mere, but I wasn't prepared for what I encountered. I had heard that I should expect to see around 250,000 birds but what does 250,000 birds look like?
I arrived at the car park at about 3.15pm and walked to the mere. I had the hide all to myself and I secretly hoped that would remain the case.
The mere was very calm with ducks, swans, gulls and moorhen floating on the surface, so quiet.

Then in the distance the starlings started to collect, and it looked as though the murmuration was going to take place at the far end of the mere.

All of a sudden there was a black noisy mass of birds right infront of the hide, just fantastic

and the noise wow!!!!

Then they all dropped into the reeds alongside the hide, the rush of wings stopped but the bedtime chatter didn't, you couldn't see them , but you could certainly hear them, thousands of starlings clinging to the reeds all talking to each other- just brilliant, - then the hide door opened and in walked another hopeful murmuration watcher, I had to tell him they had just settled down,  I hung around for another quarter of an hour with the hope of an encore, but it didn't come and I had to make my way back to the car park, so I bade farewell and left the still hopeful birdwatcher staring out over a very still and quiet mere.