Starling Trail

After the watching the starlings in bad weather a couple of days ago I had a cunning plan for todays visit to RSPB Ham Wall.  Two days ago the birds dropped straight down into the reeds on the western edge of Waltons Heath and stayed there – not moving an inch.  So my plan was to wait as near to that spot as I could.

Today the forecast was for even worse weather so, well covered up, I headed to the far edge of the heath where I hoped the birds would descend following a low level approach.

The first birds arrived.

Starlings in bad weather - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8413

Starlings in bad weather – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8413

Followed by more.

Starlings in bad weather - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8441

Starlings in bad weather – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8441

Soon a continuous low stream of birds were flying in from the south.

Starlings in bad weather - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8542

Starlings in bad weather – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8542

As I hoped the birds had settled in the reeds between me and the Tor View hide.  They were only 20 yards away.

Starlings in bad weather - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8605

Starlings in bad weather – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8605

The Storm

The birds were already down when a storm hit the heath.  A wind blew-up, and the cold air quickly froze the rain into heavy sleet.   Winter had suddenly appeared from no where.

Starlings in bad weather - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8714

Starlings in bad weather – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8714

The wind blow waves across on the water into which the which the sleet fell.

As the change in weather hit the birds they became agitated and then the entire flock lifted into the sky and headed off in the direction of Loxtons.  In the distance I could see the Loxtons flocks had also lifted and were heading off even deeper into the reserve.

Starlings in bad weather - Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8733

Starlings in bad weather – Ham Wall, Somerset, UK. ID 809_8733

Could this mark the end of this long period of stability at the starling roost, or was it a one off caused by the bad weather?

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