Starling Trail

Starlings over Meare Heath - Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_9115

Starlings over Meare Heath – Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_9115

Waiting for the Starlings

Part of starling watching is waiting for them to arrive.  For me a big part of that is capturing the sunset.  Typically, the birds arrive after the sun has dropped below the horizon so there is plenty of time.

Sunset at 70 Acres - Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_8929

Sunset at 70 Acres – Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_8929

First Arrivals

Its always reassuring when the flocks return as they could go anywhere across the Avalon Marshes.  The first groups are pretty small but they looked great flying though the last light of sunset.

Starlings over 70 Acres - Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_8954

Starlings over 70 Acres – Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_8954

Sadly, it soon became clear that we were not standing in the best location.  Large flocks of birds flew overhead towards the far end of Meare Heath.

Starlings over 70 Acres - Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_8983

Starlings over 70 Acres – Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_8983

Mad Dash

Would the birds cycle around and return to our location?  I gambled not, and ran down the track, across the bridge, through the woods to stand next to the Meare Heath hide. Suffering from a cold, I could run very fast and when I got to the hide I was totally exhausted.

I had just managed to catch my breath when a huge flock arrived filling the sky.

Starlings over Meare Heath - Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_9071

Starlings over Meare Heath – Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_9071

However, while I was now much closer it was not the best position.  The roost’s dropping-in point was hidden by the corner of the woods.  By walking out in front of the hide I had just enough of a view to get some pictures.

Starlings over Meare Heath - Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_9115

Starlings over Meare Heath – Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_9115

As the flock lowered it became incredibly dense.  750,000 birds in such a tiny patch of the heath.

Starlings over Meare Heath - Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_9119

Starlings over Meare Heath – Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_9119

And Finally…

While waiting for the starlings to arrive I took a walk around the Discovery Trail.  Over the years the raised walkway has twisted and warped into some interesting shaped.

Discovery Trail - Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_8911

Discovery Trail – Shapwick Heath, Somerset, UK. ID 824_8911

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