Where to experience a starling murmuration this winter

Tuesday 18 December 2012, 16:31

Paul Deane Paul Deane Web Producer

starling murmuration Starling murmurations, where thousands of birds flock together, swirling in the sky at dawn and dusk, are one of the ultimate winter spectacles. During the colder months, up and down the country, hundreds of thousands of starlings darken the sky with these incredible, acrobatic displays on their way to or from their roosts. 

We've been lucky enough to film them in the past, such as this display by Aberystwyth pier. As ever, we've love to see your sightings. Please share your links below or to the Winterwatch Flickr Group.

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A flock of starlings funnels down en masse to roost on Aberystwyth's pier.

So where is your best chance of spotting this spectacle?

The County Bird Recorders and the RSPB regional and county teams have kindly put together a list of sites that are either currently known to have starling roosts or those where there is a high probability before the winter is over. There is no guarantee of a spectacular sight as the birds can move around from roost to roost and the display can depend on timing, the number of birds and the presence of predators.

Anglesey: Malltreath Marsh RSPB Reserve

Aberdeenshire: Near Collieston north of Aberdeen

Antrim: Albert Bridge in Belfast

Cambridgeshire: Maxey Pits near Peterborough

Cambridgeshire: Paxton Pits Nature Reserve (Hayling Pit)

Cambridgeshire: RSPB Fen Drayton Reserve

Ceridigion: Aberystwyth

Cheshire: Rostherne Mere

Conwy: RSPB Conwy

Devon: Okehampton Camp

Dorset: Poole (Sterte)

Dumfries and Galloway: Gretna Green

East Glamorgan: Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

East Sussex: Between Brighton Marina and the Royal Pier

Hampshire: Northing reported

Herefordshire: Wellington gravel-pits SO505475

Lancashire: RSPB Leighton Moss

Lincolnshire: Far Ings Nature Reserve

Lincolnshire: Kirkby on Bain pits Wildlife Trust reserve

Lancashire: Blackpool Pier

Lothians: Nivensknowe South of Edinburgh

Norfolk: Strumpshaw Fen

Northumberland: Holy Island  (peak numbers in autumn)

North Lincolnshire: Barton-on-Humber nature reserve

Pembrokeshire: Plumstone Mountain Grid ref SM914233

Perth and Kinross: Loch Leven NNR (likely NE shore)

Radnorshire: Fronddyrys and Pie Corner area ca.SO 165600 and SO140605

Shropshire: Nothing reported

Staffordshire: Aqualate Meer National Nature Reserve

Suffolk: North Warren (Near Thorpeness)

Teeside: RSPB Saltholme

Warwickshire: Brand Marsh Nature Reserve

Wiltshire: West Lavington

 

Thanks for all your tips in the comments below. And here's just a few of your replies via Twitter.

Nat Osborne @NatOsborne86
Every evening over Rolls Royce in Little Stoke, Bristol #starlingmurmuration

Neil Mansfield@chewyuk
You missed one! Cardiff Bay at the moment. I photographed this last week. http://www.landscapesuncovered.com/cardiff-bay-murmuration/ …

iain green @naturebygreen
You missed Somerset Levels! (Shapwick/Ham Wall) In my top 3 wildlife spectacles enjoyed in 15 yrs as wildlife photographer

justin parker@jussyblade12
potteric carr has at the moment which is impressive

Mike Collins @MikeyC74
you can often see them near to Swindon station at dusk; a wonderful sight

Henry Tamblin @HenryTamblin
Marazion marsh in Cornwall can be great, Cornwall's biggest reed bed, spectacular sunsets that far west too!

Kate Harris @Bo74
saw amazing ones at lizard point in Cornwall

James Diamond@JamesRDiamond
@NESouthWest
: Shapwick Heath NNR is a great place to see starling murmurations. Call the Starling Hotline 07866 554142

Try the@YorksWildlife Potteric Carr starling mumuration youtube.com/watch?v=T7bbIR…

Yorks Wildlife Trust@YorksWildlife
@jsmithywt
growing bigger and bigger by the day! Started at around 10,000 birds as in this video, but now at around 20,000!

Liz Rollings@Chyenbas
From my garden! They come to roost on the pylons every night this time of year but not large enough numbers possibly

Derek & Suzy@DerekSuzy
Gretna green and RSPB Saltholme

Gavin Vella Also add Newport Wetlands to that list

Jenny Heath The Albert Bridge and also the Queens Bridge in Belfast. Spectacular!

Steve Webb Aberystwyrh Pier is a great place to see starling murmurations

Charlie Brown Portsmouth harbour station at around 4pm about 500 birds

Deborah Marland Watched one at Leighton Moss a few weeks back it was spectacular. 

Angie Hill There's a nice one building up in Worcester at the moment. Not a startling number of starlings ... but approx 1000 which is good for starters! 

Pete Clark Theres one near me around the English, Welsh border at Pulford/Rossett, admittedly the murmuration normally form over the fields about a mile away some we often get a dozen or so flood the garden cleaning out the bird tables and fat balls!

Dean Burman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mDCTLFg-8E
Enjoy Dean's wild shorts 'Starlings'
My afternoon filming flocks of Starlings and the awesome 'Flo'

John Walsh Brighton Marina is the place to be now that the old West Pier no longer allows them a roost at night.

Frances Palmer Starlings put on a good show over the pier at Eastbourne. I've often seen them and it is spectacular! 

Clare Checkley Aberystwyth pier is a fantastic place to see the starlings... either watch from the prom or if you're feeling brave (and don't mind bird droppings!) actually on the pier end itself, where you can fully immerse yourself in a murmuration - an awesome experience!


Have we missed any? Drop your tips in below please!

 

Comments

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    Comment number 1.

    Haven't been past it lately, but there's been a starling roost under Wandsworth Bridge in London for the past few years.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    Currently approximately 80,000 coming in to reeds at Afonwen farm between Criccieth and Pwllheli Gwynedd. Excellent view to be had from pull ins on main road and looking down on the reed beds and ponds.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    fen drayton emailed me yesterday to say they have gone from there.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    I visit Ham Wall on the Somerset Levels ever year, never lets me down! Went last Sunday, over 1 million apparently ! Amazing sight!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    RSPB Otmoor, Otmoor Lane, Oxford. I was there in late November when there was an estimate 60,000 birds. See the link to the Otmoor Blog dated 22/11/12 http://otmoorbirding.blogspot.co.uk
    An amazing experience.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    Essex (what? not on the list?). We have minor murmurations over Southend sea-front, and neighbouring Westcliff on Sea. Here's a video clip from 2010: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150100777295346&set=vb.787620345&type=3&theater - the group is much smaller this year

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    Somerset - On the Levels near Shapwick,Ham wall the RSPB reserve - Fabulous - Chris Sperring led my Hawk & Owl trust grp there on Sunday,we saw Starlings by the 1000s - Unmissable..

  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    I see such things and Thank God I'm alive.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 9.

    Cheshire - above the Runcorn/Widnes bridge - we saw them last Sunday.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 10.

    I feed the starling birds all throughout the year where i live in a small town in North Wiltshire in a semi detached house. Normally i see around 40 starlings which come feed.

    This last week, and especially yesterday 29th December i've been outside watching them, then all i see hundreds of them all in a big tree 2 rows over from me and the noise of them is loud.
    I went inside to get my camera to film them, I notice as well lots of seagulls circling slowly, rising on the fast wind not to far away from the group in the tree.

    As i watched them, after a while some of them flew off first, in stages, and then what seemed from out of now where more of them that joined them from other places i couldn't see. As they took to the sky and over the houses and sheds and trees there must of been hundreds of them. I stayed outside for a hour waiting for them to return back. Again in stages a few starlings return and sat on roof tops and tv aerials.
    As i watched them, they are used to seeing me and i am familiar with some of there behaviour and calls.
    Then all of a sudden i get a fly by from over head of hundreds of starlings flying over me in my garden. I see what looks like a leader out in front and to the side, i see single starlings on each side of the main group as they fly overhead. I can see some coming the other way and i can see how they do not crash into each other but they maneuver themselves around the other group, like you are waiting briefly, momentarily, then able to step, walk past another person in the street. It was an emotional time for me to witness such a sight.

    They didn't stop and were gone in a flash. I continued to wait around and now all the starlings have gone. Before i go back in as it's windy and wet i do get to see another fly by by them. I was feeling exhilaration for seeing such a sight and amazement. I was also thinking what it's like for the starlings to be part of such an event.

    Becky.

 

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