22.12.17. Birdlog.

Not a great deal to report after walking around No.6 and 4 tanks today with 2 Little Egret out on the salt marshes and 18 Mute Swan by the Holpool Gutter. The wintering herd of Whooper Swan (23) were with 9 Mute’s on Lordship Marsh and their ever faithful Greylag Goose was there for company. A Marsh Harrier was seen to drop in to the reed bed on No.6 with a prey item and a Sparrowhawk was waiting for the Starlings to arrive.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 5-6 & 10).

With mid winters day already behind us I took advantage of the lengthening ;O) daylight hours to cram in 30 minutes of Starling gazing after work. On arrival a small crowd had gathered, we stood on the northern banks of No.6 tank to look across and see the hordes of Sturnus vulgaris emerging from the gathering gloom brought on by the fog that crept through the marshes this evening.

I am beginning to stop estimating the volume of these birds that are coming in and I’m now just appreciating the spectacle that occurs here each night. Having said that there are literally tens upon tens of thousands of these passerines swarming in from all directions. The birds are attracted together like charged particles forming a huge shield wall forming over the ‘Pumping Station’ before streaming out to be swallowed en masse into the reed beds on No.6 tank.

A black blizzard is what I would call them and a totally memorable sight it is to see come and watch it while you can.

A couple of Marsh Harrier were hunting the reed bed but didn’t appear to show much interest in the Starling roost?

Observers: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 5-6 & 10), Judith, Bob, Steven and Megan Holland, Alison Parry et al and WSM (images 2-4 & 7-9).