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Murmurations

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Old Sunday 29th September 2013, 21:23   #1
Matthewnm
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Murmurations

Hi all,
I'm hoping for some local advice about seeing starling murmurations. I'm based in Nantwich. Is it too early in the season?
Thanks,
Matthew
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Old Sunday 29th September 2013, 21:48   #2
Pitvar
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I have only seen flocks of around 60-100 birds so far but when they get going Moore NR is a good place to see them over the reed beds at the far end - and often a Sparrowhawk in attendance too!
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Old Sunday 29th September 2013, 21:54   #3
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Budworth Mere is a good place to see them. Go about an hour before dusk and wait for them to start coming in.

CB
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Old Sunday 29th September 2013, 21:57   #4
Matthewnm
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Thanks Pitbar and Cheshire Birder, I shall try those :-)
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Old Friday 1st November 2013, 20:52   #5
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Another good spot can be Runcorn Bridge - from the walkway or from the end of Mersey Road on West Bank - but haven't been over at the right time of day to see if they're there yet. As a bonus there's often a peregrine having a go at them!
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Old Saturday 2nd November 2013, 09:33   #6
David Smith
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From where you live I would think Marbury country Park is well worth a visit. If you look at my photo gallery you will see some photo's that I took from the hide close to the car park........I have attached 2 of them to this post.
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Old Sunday 3rd November 2013, 19:30   #7
Matthewnm
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Thanks to both of you.
I'll have to check those out :-)
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Old Sunday 3rd November 2013, 20:19   #8
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This thread got me back to Moore this evening - spent two hours at the eastern reedbed hide and was entertained by Jays, a Kingfisher, at least three Sparrowhawks, lots of squealing Water Rail, Little Grebes, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Herons and a Great Crested Grebe whilst I awaited the starlings.

When they did start coming in [from about 4.30pm] they were in small groups and a massive flock of birds was resting on the power lines to the east of Moore. Gradually some of them came in in flocks of a few thousand at a time to the reeds but there must be other roost sites nearby. Anyway as always a treat to watch and they did make some shapes - particularly when the Sparrowhawks attacked and then the "lightbulb" as they dropped into the reeds.

Makes a change doing bird photography at 18mm...if anyone's going the track to the hide was completely flooded so wellies would be good after heavy rain!
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Old Sunday 3rd November 2013, 22:17   #9
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Nice photos Pitvar!!

CB
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Old Monday 4th November 2013, 19:09   #10
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Thanks CB - I'm doing a lot less traveling for unusual birds [not that I was ever a proper twitcher :) ] and doing a lot more local birding lately and enjoying it!
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Old Tuesday 5th November 2013, 12:28   #11
HughPulsford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitvar View Post
This thread got me back to Moore this evening - spent two hours at the eastern reedbed hide and was entertained by Jays, a Kingfisher, at least three Sparrowhawks, lots of squealing Water Rail, Little Grebes, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Herons and a Great Crested Grebe whilst I awaited the starlings.

When they did start coming in [from about 4.30pm] they were in small groups and a massive flock of birds was resting on the power lines to the east of Moore. Gradually some of them came in in flocks of a few thousand at a time to the reeds but there must be other roost sites nearby. Anyway as always a treat to watch and they did make some shapes - particularly when the Sparrowhawks attacked and then the "lightbulb" as they dropped into the reeds.

Makes a change doing bird photography at 18mm...if anyone's going the track to the hide was completely flooded so wellies would be good after heavy rain!
Excellent photos and records, please send in our estimated counts to [email protected] It seems Starling flocks are much diminished here in the North West and we need counts/estimates at any sites. They used to be in really huge numbers, but now they have split into smaller roosts, presumably to accommodate the roost site, ie a million at Rostherne would flatten the reed bed in a single night and then where do they go, so it seems they are being very savvy and only targeting sites that can hold their numbers...
and that means several sites spread across the area and well spread out, so any and all roost site info is gratefully received.
also any Pied Wagtail roost sites are also needed!
Thanks Hugh
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Old Tuesday 5th November 2013, 21:47   #12
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Excellent photos and records, please send in our estimated counts to [email protected] It seems Starling flocks are much diminished here in the North West and we need counts/estimates at any sites. They used to be in really huge numbers, but now they have split into smaller roosts, presumably to accommodate the roost site, ie a million at Rostherne would flatten the reed bed in a single night and then where do they go, so it seems they are being very savvy and only targeting sites that can hold their numbers...
and that means several sites spread across the area and well spread out, so any and all roost site info is gratefully received.
also any Pied Wagtail roost sites are also needed!
Thanks Hugh
Happy to try and help Hugh - whats the best technique for starling counts - get a clear photo, take a count of a percentage of the flock and then multiply it up? The other issue for anyone counting from Moore is the huge gathering on the pylons over to the east as I'm not convinced more than a quarter eventually made it to the reed bed - some parties flew directly towards the Mersey instead I think.
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Old Wednesday 6th November 2013, 22:00   #13
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Originally Posted by Pitvar View Post
Happy to try and help Hugh - whats the best technique for starling counts - get a clear photo, take a count of a percentage of the flock and then multiply it up? The other issue for anyone counting from Moore is the huge gathering on the pylons over to the east as I'm not convinced more than a quarter eventually made it to the reed bed - some parties flew directly towards the Mersey instead I think.
There used to be a huge roost on the Runcorn-Widnes bridge so maybe they are going there.

CB
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Old Sunday 17th November 2013, 19:17   #14
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Still haven't driven over the bridge at the right time to check that roost but there was a large but un-showy roost at Moore today. Surprised me by being around 40 minutes earlier than a fortnight ago but dusk is that bit earlier and it was a cloudy afternoon. Sadly they only did one or two fly overs in any numbers then dived straight into the reeds - to the right this time and not into the central island. Most birds came in fast and low from the west this time in parties of a few hundred and none came from the pylons to the east.

At least one Sparrowhawk was successful and again the Sparrowhawks appearing signaled the Starlings weren't far behind!

Photos weren't good enough to attempt a count of the main flock but it was good to see plenty of other people there to enjoy the spectacle - short lived as it was.
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