A quick Santa dash after work to the marsh to catch the Starling roost before it was too late. On arrival we met Dave Knott and his wife who had a similar idea and we all enjoyed the now familiar spectacle of the big reed bed roost on No.6 tank.
The lowering sun cast stunning cerise and mauve colours on spaghetti western type clouds as it dropped below the horizon. Shortly after the sun had set the first flocks started to arrive from (mostly) a south-westerly direction, these immediately dropped into their roost in the reeds below the banks where we were standing.
During the course of our watch the birds that had already settled in the reeds began to leave their roost and began leapfrogging each other in groups of hundreds and thousands. This movement created an interesting undulating wave of birds moving east through the reeds. The initial roost was close to the edge of the main water body on the tank and the leapfrogging groups soon ran out of reeds and were then faced with open water. The flocks were now streaming out of reeds and circled above the water but because of the trees it was difficult to view what or where they were heading?
Within 10 minutes the whole flock returned in a twisting mass over the east end of No.5 tank and it was there that they made an impressive murmuration before they returned to settle back into the reeds. The evening light had faded to virtually nothing and it was difficult to see where the flocks had relocated but their chattering from the reed beds sounded quite close by.
Video of part of the Starling roost here: https://vimeo.com/245494719
A couple of Marsh Harrier were quartering the distant reeds.
Observers: Mr & Mrs David Knott, Sparky & WSM (and image).