Waiting for the starlings to return to their roost site at RSPB Ham Wall can be a wonderful time. The combination of watching a beautiful restful landscape after a hard day at work, plus the anticipation of the starlings arrival. Have I picked the best spot, should I go to one of the hides, perhaps I should hedge my bets and stand out in the open, or seek a special view point away from the crowds and risk missing the starlings all together.
All this was all going around in my head when the sound of pair of Chinook helicopters began to get louder and louder. Suddenly they appeared low over the reserve scattering the birds everywhere.
Normally it is a marsh harrier scaring the birds today it was something much bigger!
I eventually decided to sit in a hide and watch the sunset.
Not long after the sun had dropped below the horizon a stream of starlings appeared overhead.
Looking the other way more starlings approached from the direction of Glastonbury Tor.
In the wind the starlings were getting blown about. A few birds dropped into the reeds next to the hide. Sadly, most of the starlings headed off in a different direction.
Soon the starlings that were in Walton Heath began to lift back into the air and join the bigger flocks elsewhere.
They continued to stream out of the reeds for a long time. It was getting very dark but still more birds appeared out the reeds.
Soon the only way to see the birds was by their reflection in the water.
It was a glorious clear sunset.
The appearance of the Chinooks reminded me of when a pair of Hercules aircraft that flew over a huge starling flock back in 2017.
The flock was big and drifting across to the north of the first viewing platform.
When from no where a Hercules flew directly over the birds. The entire flock dropped in a massive wave straight into the reeds. The combination of aircraft and starling noise was intense.