For a couple of weeks the starlings have been roosting in the far north of the RSPB Ham Wall nature reserve on the Avalon Marshes in Somerset. Getting good views of this roost site is difficult and even from the second viewing platform it is a long way off.
While returning to the car park on my previous visit a small group of starlings had moved to the Waltons Heath. This is a great location – next to the first viewing platform and only a short walk from the car park.
On on today’s visit I hoped the entire flock would move there. Waiting next to the heath was a high risk strategy and many visitors walked by heading for the second platform. With the poor weather I knew I would not get any photographs looking towards the dark northern sky. So this was a risk worth taking.
The wait is exciting – will my decision be the correct one? Should I share my idea – what if I am wrong? As the first flocks flew over it was becoming clear that they were heading for the neighbouring Shapwick Heath reserve. Disaster, could we all be wrong.
Things were looking bad, but it was too late to run off chasing the birds. So I waited on the main track looking over the western end Walton’s Heath. Just I as beginning to give up a few birds dropped off the back of the passing flocks into the heath.
At least I would have some pictures of a few starlings. Then the flocks re-appeared, perhaps they did not like the look of Shapwick Heath today. Soon the sky was full of birds.
My decision had paid off. Despite the dull weather this was a fantastic sight.
Flocks appeared like clouds over the heath. Then a curtain of birds poured into the reeds like rain.
The reed bed was a mass of birds and noise.
The birds continued to move over each other in waves throughout the heath.
Soon it was too dark to take pictures and it was time to go home.